What causes an avalanche breakdown? What can be the consequences?

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A process that occurs in a semiconductor space charge region under a sufficiently high voltage such that the net electron/hole generation rate due to impact ionization exceeds certain critical value, causing the current to rise indefinitely due to a positive feedback mechanism. The I-R heating caused during this process can permanently degrade or destroy the material.

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Avalanche breakdown occurs in lightly-doped pn-junctions where the depletion region is comparatively long.ÝThe doping density controls the breakdown voltage.ÝThe temperature coefficient of the avalanche mechanism is positive.

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