In electronics, a diode is a two-terminal electronic component with an asymmetric transfer characteristic, with low (ideally zero) resistance to current flow in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) resistance in the other. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material with a p-n junction connected to two electrical terminals. Types Of Diodes
LASER DIODE: This type of diode is not the same as the ordinary light emitting diode because it produces coherent light. Laser diodes are widely used in many applications from DVD and CD drives to laser light pointers for presentations. Although laser diodes are much cheaper than other forms of laser generator, they are considerably more expensive than LEDs. They also have a limited life. LIGHT EMITTING DIODES: The light emitting diode or LED is one of the most popular types of diode. When forward biased with current flowing through the junction, light is produced. The diodes use component semiconductors, and can produce a variety of colors, although the original color was red. There are also very many new LED developments that are changing the way displays can be used and manufactured. High output LEDs and OLEDs are two examples. PHOTODIODE: The photo-diode is used for detecting light. It is found that when light strikes a PN junction it can create electrons and holes. Typically photo-diodes are operated under reverse bias conditions where even small amounts of current flow resulting from the light can be easily detected. Photo-diodes can also be used to generate electricity. For some applications, PIN diodes work very well as photo detectors. PIN DIODE: This type of diode is typified by its construction. It has the standard P type and N-type areas, but between them there is an area of intrinsic semiconductor which has no doping. The area of the intrinsic semiconductor has the effect of increasing the area of the depletion region which can be useful for switching applications as well as for use in photodiodes, etc. SCHOTTKY DIODES: This type of diode has a lower forward voltage drop than ordinary silicon PN junction diodes. At low currents the drop may be somewhere between 0.15 and 0.4 volts as opposed to 0.6 volts for a silicon diode. To achieve this performance they are constructed in a different way to normal diodes having a metal to semiconductor contact. They are widely used as clamping diodes, in RF applications, and also for rectifier applications. STEP RECOVERY DIODE: A form of microwave diode used for generating and shaping pulses at very high frequencies. These diodes rely on a very fast turn off characteristic of the diode for their operation. TUNNEL DIODE: Although not widely used today, the tunnel diode was used for microwave applications where its performance exceeded that of other devices of the day. VARACTOR DIODE OR VARICAP DIODE: This type of diode is used in many radio frequency (RF) applications. The diode has a reverse bias placed upon it and this varies the width of the depletion layer according to the voltage placed across the diode. In this configuration the varactor or varicap diode acts like a capacitor with the depletion region being the insulating dielectric and the capacitor plates formed by the extent of the conduction regions. The capacitance can be varied by changing the bias on the diode as this will vary the width of the depletion region which will accordingly change the capacitance. ZENER DIODE: The Zener diode is a very useful type of diode as it provides a stable reference voltage. As a result it is used in vast quantities. It is run under reverse bias conditions and it is found that when a certain voltage is reached it breaks down. If the current is limited through a resistor, it enables a stable voltage to be produced. This type of diode is therefore widely used to provide a reference voltage in power supplies. Two types of reverse breakdown are apparent in...
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