What are Zero Bias Schottky Diode Detectors?

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Peter McNeil - L-com Global Connectivity

May 8, 2018

A zero bias Schottky diode detector is a type of RF power detector that doesn’t require a bias voltage to operate. This means that these devices can be used to great RF power detectors, or even receivers, that don’t require primary DC power while in listen mode. Hence, applications that require power efficient or passive operation can leverage such detectors without having to have large energy storage systems, DC bias, or low-power receiver circuitry. The elimination of DC bias circuit can often significantly simplify such a detector, reducing the size, cost, and complexity of the circuitry.

Applications such as RF identification (RFID), Internet of Things, and RF tagging can take advantage of low cost, small form factor, and zero power consumption listening circuits when using zero bias Schottky diode detectors. Obviously, without bias power, the sensitivity of such a receiver or detector is limited, and superheterodyne receivers are typically much more sensitive, though they are often more complex and expensive. A diode detector circuit can be built simply of a zero bias Schottky diode, a shunt inductor, a shunt capacitor, and a load circuit. With such detectors that is a tradeoff between sensitivity and dynamic range, and the physical construction of the circuit determines its frequency and bandwidth performance.


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