It is possible to synthesize a voltage-controlled negative-differential-resistance (NDR) device or circuit by use of a pair of complementary G4FETs (four-gate field-effect transistors). [For more information about G4FETs, please see "G4FET Implementations of Some Logic Circuits" (NPO-44007).] As shown in Figure 1, the present voltage-controlled NDR device or circuit is an updated version of a prior NDR device or circuit, known as a lambda diode, that contains a pair of complementary junction field-effect transistors (JFETs). (The lambda diode is so named because its current-versus-voltage plot bears some resemblance to an uppercase lambda.) The present version can be derived from the prior version by substituting G4FETs for the JFETs and connecting both JFET gates of each G4FET together. The front gate terminals of the G4FETs constitute additional terminals (that is, terminals not available in the older JFET version) to which one can apply control voltages VN and VP.

Figure 1. A Lambda Diode is a negative-resistance circuit or device, previously made from JFETs, and now made from G4FETs.
Circuits in which NDR devices have been used include (1) Schmitt triggers and (2) oscillators containing inductance/ capacitance (LC) resonant circuits. Figure 2 depicts such circuits containing G4FET NDR devices like that of Figure 1. In the Schmitt trigger shown here, the G4FET NDR is loaded with an ordinary inversion-mode, p-channel, metal oxide/semiconductor field-effect transistor (inversion-mode PMOSFET), the VN terminal of the G4FET NDR device is used as an input terminal, and the input terminals of the PMOSFET and the G4FET NDR device are connected. VP can be used as an extra control voltage (that is, a control voltage not available in a typical prior Schmitt trigger) for adjusting the pinch-off voltage of the p-channel G4FET and thereby adjusting the trigger- voltage window.

Figure 2. This LC Oscillator and Schmitt Trigger are examples of enhanced NDR circuits that can be made by use of G4FETs.
In the oscillator, a G4FET NDR device is loaded with a conventional LC tank circuit. As in other LC NDR oscillators, oscillation occurs because the NDR counteracts the resistance in the tank circuit. The advantage of this G4FET NDR LC oscillator over a conventional LC NDR oscillator is that one can apply a time-varying signal to one of the extra control input terminals (VN or VP) to modulate the conductance of the NDR device and thereby amplitude-modulate the output signal.

This work was done by Mohammad Mojarradi of Caltech; Suheng Chen, Ben Blalock, Chuck Britton, Ben Prothro, and James Vandersand of the University of Tennessee; Ron Schrimph of Vanderbilt University; and Sorin Cristoloveanu, Kerem Akarvardar, and P. Gentil of Grenoble University for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Innovative Technology Assets Management
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
(818) 354-2240
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refer to NPO-43929, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Complementary Paired G4FETs as Voltage- Controlled NDR Device

(reference NPO-43929) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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