for *V*_{G} = -2.0, -2.5 V, -3.0 V, ...., -5.5 V

smaller data file, postscript plot, pdf plot

Note that you can make the p-channel MOSFET characteristic curves look like the common n-channel MOSFET curves just by rotating the pMOSFET plot by 180°. In swapping n-channel for p-channel so nMOSFET pMOSFET, we've reversed the direction of current flows (so currents are negative -- flowing out of the drain in a pMOSFET) and the required supply voltage becomes negative for a pMOSFET. That is to say that the p-channels are designed for negative power supplies and out-flowing (negative) drain currents -- the opposite of n-channels.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of these curves is the
power being controlled by this device. At the extreme these curves display a FET
with a drain current of -.4 A and a voltage drop of -5 V, which is
a power dissipation of .4×5=2 Watts -- way beyond the
thermal limit of the package (0.7 W).
If we display the thermally disallowed region
(*I*_{D}×*V*_{DS} > .7 W) on top of
these characteristic curves you can get a better idea of how this device might be used.

The small *V*_{DS} "ohmic" region and the small *I*_{D}
"saturation" region are available.

In the usual saturation region the characteristic curves
are much like a JFETs, but now with *negative* controlling gate voltages:

for *V*_{G} = -1.80 V, 1.85 V, 1.90 V, ...., 2.15 V

big data file, smaller data file, postscript plot, pdf plot

Note the small range of *V*_{G} controlling a big range of *I*_{D}...
these devices can be more sensitive amplifiers than JFETs.

In the small *V*_{DS} "ohmic" region the characteristic curves
are nearly straight lines through the origin -- the defining behavior of
a resistor. Here the slope line is controlled by the gate voltage. As
*V*_{G}0 the lines become flat: a large resistance and an "off" transistor.
For more negative *V*_{G} the resistance approaches a small limiting resistance,
here about 6.7

for *V*_{G} = -2.00 V, -2.25 V, -2.50 V, ...., -3.75 V
smaller data file,
postscript plot,
pdf plot

The behavior of an enhancement p-channel metal-oxide field-effect transistor (pMOSFET) is largely controlled
by the voltage at the gate (usually a *negative* voltage).
For the usual drain-source voltage drops (i.e., the __saturation region__:
negative voltages from a few volts down to some breakdown voltage) the drain
current (*I*_{D}) is nearly independent of the drain-source voltage
(*V*_{DS}), and instead
depends on the gate voltage (*V*_{G}).
(This is unusual behavior: usually more voltage
produces to more current, but here the current only increases
slightly with increasing *V*_{DS}.) The __transconductance__,
i.e., the ratio of the change in drain current to change in gate voltage,
often denoted by *g* or *y*_{fs}, is

*g* = *y*_{fs} =
*I*_{D}/*V*_{G}

In the simplest approximation the characteristic curves of a pMOSFET are a set of flat lines:

Each (flat) curve shows that *I*_{D} doesn't change with changing
*V*_{DS}. The different levels show that *I*_{D}
does depend on *V*_{G}. The spacing of the constant-*I*_{D}
curves is usually not constant, instead *I*_{D} depends quadratically
on *V*_{G}:

*I*_{D}=*K*(*V*_{TO}-*V*_{G})^{2}

where the threshold voltage *V*_{TO} and *K* are constants.

A slightly more complicated approximation takes into account the sloping of the characteristic curves. In bipolar transistors this is due to the Early Voltage, here a very similar equation results from quite different physics: channel length modulation. The equation looks like:

1/*V*_{A} =

So in this model all the
characteristic curves all have a common *x*-axis intercept
at the large positive voltage 1/. (The dashed curves
are far from the active region and in no way represent the actual behavior of
the transistor for positive *V*_{DS}. In fact, the transistor
is not designed to be operated with positive *V*_{DS}.)

(For the above measured BS250, 1/ ranges from 50 to 70 V.)

The actual relationship between the drain current (*I*_{D})
and the controlling gate voltage (*V*_{G}) and
drain-source voltage drop (*V*_{DS}) is some complicated
function which we can denote:

*I*_{D}(*V*_{G},*V*_{DS})

Like any function we can approximate it near a particular point using just the first terms of a Taylors expansion:

Clearly these *admittance (y) parameters* are not constants.
For example *y*_{os} is the slope of a characteristic
curve, which is small for voltages near threshold and increases
for larger *V*_{G}.

The defining parameter -- the transconductance
*g* or *y*_{fs} -- is not at all
constant. To the extent that the drain current depends
quadratically on the gate voltage, the transconductance -- which is the
derivative: d*I*_{D}/d*V*_{G} --
depends linearly on *V*_{G}. Below is the measured
relationship: *I*_{D} vs *V*_{G} for the above BS250.
Notice that for *V*_{G}<*V*_{TO}, the drain current
is crudely approximated by the quadratic, whereas for *V*_{G}>*V*_{TO}
the drain current depends approximately exponentially on *V*_{G}.
Thus the drain current is not strictly zero here, merely exponentially small.

(Note that *V*_{G}=0 is not in the saturation region, so the *I*_{DSS} parameter is
a very small current.)

The characteristic curves focus on the output of the transistor, but we
can also consider the behavior of the input. In normal operation the
gate is separated by an insulating layer from the rest of the
transistor, and so *I*_{G} is essentially
zero (which should sound like a huge input resistance).
As a result the outputs have little
effect on the inputs, but if we follow the traditional analysis
the actual functional relationship giving the
gate current (*I*_{G}) from
the gate voltage (*V*_{G}) and
drain-source voltage drop (*V*_{DS}) is some complicated
function which we can denote:

*I*_{G}(*V*_{G},*V*_{DS})

Like any function we can again approximate it near a particular point using just the first terms of Taylors expansion:

The small values of *y*_{rs} and *y*_{is} shows that the input is
largely unaffected by the output and that the input resistance is huge. In fact
this input resistance is so large that the capacitance reactance is almost always
of greater significance.

Particularly for MOSFETs it should be noted that in the small *V*_{DS} region -- before the
saturation region -- the MOSFET characteristic curves look like nearly straight lines through the origin.
*V*_{G} controls the slope of these lines, so the MOSFET acts like a
variable resistor with a voltage (*V*_{G}) control. Here is a plot of this region for the above
BS250:

The spec sheet reports the following values for the BS250:

Characteristics | Symbol | Min | Typ | Max | Unit |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Forward Transconductance | y_{fs} |
- | 150 | - | m mhos |

Static Drain-Source On-Resistance | R_{DS(on)} |
- | - | 14 | |

Zero-Gate Voltage Drain Current | I_{DSS} |
- | - | -500 | nA |

Gate Threshold Voltage | V_{TO} |
-1 | - | -3.5 | V |

Input Capacitance | C_{iSS} |
- | 60 | - | pF |