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what is the purpose of these diodes?

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Looking at an ST Micro part number 1NK60Z, I see that it has back to back zener diodes between the gate and source. What is the purpose of these?


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They protect against excessive voltage on the gate input which could otherwise break down the gate insulator and cause a short. MOSFETS are very sensitive to overvoltage transients on the gate. Look at Table 8 at the bottom of page 4 in the ST data sheet.
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