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Archive for the ‘Diodes’ Category

Diodes and Electronic Components

Posted on: July 18th, 2011 by admin
A diode is a two-terminal electronic component. Today, the most common type is the semiconductor diode, which is a small crystal made of semi-conductive material and connected to two electrical terminals. Most semiconductor diodes are made from a silicon crystal which has impurities added to it intentionally to create an area on one side that contains negative charge carriers called electrons, and a region on the other side that contains positive charge carries called holes. A less common (though still available) type is the vacuum tube diode, which is a vacuum tube with two electrodes called either the plate or the cathode.

The function of a diode is to let an electric current pass through in one direction (the diode’s forward direction), and to block current from passing in the opposite direction (the diode’s reverse direction). Unidirectional behavior in electric current is called rectification, and is used to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), or in radio receivers to extract modulation from radio signals.

There are many different types of semiconductor diodes on the market. One type is the silicon-controlled rectifier diode. It is made by alternating layers of positive and negative semi-conductive layers of silicon mixed with trace impurities. This type is generally used in devices where the control of high power, and possibly high voltage, is necessary. They are suited for use in medium or high voltage AC power control applications, such as motor control, regulators, or lamp dimming.

Another type is the Zener diode. This type of diode is different from other kinds in that it allows current to pass in the forward direction like a regular diode, but it also allows current to flow in the reverse direction when the voltage rises above a certain value, which is called the breakdown voltage. This type of diode is often used in solar panels. A different kind of diode, called the avalanche diode, functions in a similar way and is used in similar situations.

A fourth type of diode is the tunnel diode. This type of diode is capable of much faster operation that some other types, reaching frequency rates well into the microwave region by using quantum mechanical effects. Among other uses, tunnel diodes are actually used in space applications such as amplifiers for satellite communications.

These are just a few types out of a great variety of diodes available. Like any electronic component, each type of diode is suited to a different type of function. Ic Plus specializes in surplus electronic components.