tF ( the total forward transit time) and fT ( the transition frequency) for bipolar devices.

For high frequency bipolar design there are two parameters which are important in estimating the device performance. ( In actual fact the fmax of the bipolar device is equally important but is not detailed here). tF, the total forward transit time, is used for modeling the excess charge stored in the transistor when its emitter – base junction is forward biased and its collector to base voltage is VBC = 0.0. It is also needed to calculate the transistor’s emitter diffusion capacitance. Typically the tF varies with IC ( the collector current). Values of tF generally range from 0.3 nanosecond to a few or fractions of a picosecond for high frequency devices. fT is the transistors’s unity gain bandwidth. fT is defined as the frequency at which the common emitter, zero-load, small signal current gain extrapolates to unity. The roll-off is 6dB/octave. This information should be used to determine the performance required for particular device suitable for design at a particular frequency point. tF and fT are parameters used in models that drive CAD programs. In some programs the user can enter fT or tF directly while in others either fT or tF is converted from either parameter. fT can be measured using a small signal method. In this method the ratio Iout/Iin ( the current gain in a common emitter configuration)is measured for a range of frequencies from DC to the 3 dB point and beyond at a desired bias point. Then fT = product of current gain at DC and the 3dB frequency, i.e B0 X fb. Here B0 is the dc current gain and fb is the 3 dB frequency. Alternatively, another B and frequency value can be measured to determine fT. For example, at any frequency, fm, between 3fb and ft/3, the B value at that frequency Bm, is measured. Then fT = Bm X fm. It is recommended that multiple measurements be made to verify that fm lies in the 6 dB/octave roll-off region. Once fT is known tF can be obtained from it using the formulas described elsewhere in this blog.

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