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Thermal coefficient of voltage[edit]

Could anyone say how do you say in english the phrase corresponding to the ratio of temperature to voltage for a given junction and/or diode? I want to make a bulgarian article with translation of this phrase. I am talking about the positive and negative coefficient/ratio of temperature to voltage for some semiconductor elements. Also how do you call a backward way of the current? When it is used for testing for example on a given circuit you put + to ground and - to + at the source of voltage/current I think. Please also answer on my private discussion page :).--Leonardo Da Vinci (talk) 19:12, 25 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You'd probably find people writing about the "temperature coefficient" of the diode voltage, in English. "Backward" current is usually called "reverse" current in the context of testing diodes; a diode might be rated to carry, say, 10 amperes in the forward direction, but when tested with a reverse or inverse voltage, would show only a very tiny "leakage current" of perhapes a fraction of a microampere; until the voltage got too high, anyway, at which point the diode junction would "break down" and a large current would flow in the reverse direction. Diodes are rated at the "peak inverse voltage" they can withstand in the reverse direction. Does any of this help? --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:13, 25 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes but for ""temperature coefficient" of the diode voltage" maybe you mean only for diodes? The exact voltage is dependant on the temperature. Increasing temperature increases the current/voltage flow in a given electrical device. So this event must have some specific phrase to call it. Something like TCV - Temperature Coefficient of Voltage or something you know ;). It also can be positive and negative depending on the working voltage and diode ;). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Leonardo Da Vinci (talkcontribs) 14:53, 26 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unheadered stuff[edit]

Does anyone know which type of symbol (DIN 6779 / ISO / IEC / ...) the displayed symbol in the article is? it would be nice to add the comment there...

/ \

Does anyone know how a diode prevents current from flowing in one direction but permits it in the other?

For the case of a semiconductor-based diode see the discussion of a p-n junction on the semiconductor page. Someone might want to adapt this for the Diode main page. -- Matt Stoker

In a vacuum diode, the materials of the anode and cathode have different attraction to keep their electrons, the cathode may be pointed to concentrate the electric field and the cathode is usually heated to "boil" off electons. The anode is called the "plate" because it is flat to spread out the field so it is not anywhere strong enough to pull out electrons. Sorry not to include links. I can help find more detail if needed. David R. Ingham 04:44, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Does the use of galena as a detector (referred to in semiconductor devices) predate the vacuum tube rectifier? - David M

The crystal in a crystal radio is a naturally occurring mineral, used as a detector before practical vacuum-tube electronics. (I believe it has a point contact that is at least analogous to the point-contact diode of about 1950 that is the start of the Bell Labs drive toward commercial semiconductor electronics.) If the crystal of the crystal radio is galena, then the answer to your question is yes. --Jerzy 15:34, 2003 Nov 19 (UTC)

I thought I'd just explain why I changed "current" to "charge". Current doesn't really flow from A to B, but charge does. Just like "water flow rate" doesn't flow anywhere, but the water itself does. --User:Dgrant

Arguable. The current revision "they allow an electric current in one direction" doesn't make sense to me. It seems to be missing a verb. "...current to occur..." sounds better to my ear, but can we just call "current flows" common usage? -- Tim Starling
Yes, you are right. "to occur" or "to exist" would be the purest form in my opinion, but we can leave it the way it is. It's quite interesting I was able to find a fair share of both usages on Google. No doubt "current flowing" is probably more common. --Dave

It was I who changed "charge" back to "current", but in the light of the comments above, I decided that my version was no more or less correct than the previous one. Now, in an effort to please everybody, I have expanded the definition to mention both charge and current.

I think that the question of whether current "flows" or just "is" is merely a question of style. At worst, I think that "current flows" is harmlessly redundant. -- Heron

True. I think I can agree with "harmlessly redundant". I like the first paragraph now, how it uses singular form "diode" and "it" instead of "diodes" and "they".
The phrase "current flows" is harmless only if you already understand electrical physics. For newbies the phrase creates a serious misconception: the wrong idea that "current" is a substance, a substance which can "flow." This error grows to full-blown proportions in textbooks aimed at kids in grade school. Authors of these textbooks don't discuss the flow of charges within wires, instead they explain that "current electricity" flows in wires. An easy way to pop these bubbles of misconceptions is to ruthlessly remove all apparently harmless miswording such as "current flows." Instead say "charges flow" or "electrons flow" or "electric currents appear," etc. --Wjbeaty 21:07, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Unfortunately, there are many examples of the 'sloppy' use of terminology that, IMHO, hinder the learning process. I recently began teaching an introductory class in electrical engineering. In preparing for this class, I came to realize how careless I had become with the terminology of my field. In the end, my own understanding of the material improved once I began to critically evaluate how I used terms such as current. Alfred Centauri 14:17, 27 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Diode vs rectifier[edit]

As this is the general 'diode' article, it seems to me that the section on rectification schemes can be moved into rectifier, and the discussion of p-n diode characteristics can be cut down and handled on p-n junction instead. Any thoughts? - mako 05:45, 10 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, I agree this article is getting confused between rectifier and diode descriptions. After all, many diodes are not in fact used as rectifiers at all. Rectifiers should IMHO be moved to the rectifier article. Alan

Good point. Let's split them completely. - Omegatron 05:04, July 31, 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that in its present form the introduction is still confusing diodes with rectifiers. A diode is a device with two terminals. Not all diodes are rectifiers. That's what we learned way back in circuits 101 and that's what it says in Merriam-Webster -"an electronic device that has two electrodes or terminals and is used especially as a rectifier". I'm going to change it to reflect this basic fact that every electrical engineer should know and if anyone wants to change it back to the incorrect definition, please provide a source. Tarchon 20:45, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gas discharge diode[edit]

I had not heard of this device before. Does it exist? Can anyone refer to an example part or manufacturer or example of useage?? Al

I'm pretty sure it exists; I'll look it up when I have time. BTW, thanks for your contribs. Do consider signing up for an account. - mako 21:41, 31 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No evidence on these devices has yet come to light so i have moved the para here for consultation. What think you O? Light current 01:27, 6 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gas Discharge Diode : There are two electrodes, not touching, in some kind of gas. One electrode is very sharp. The other has a smoothly curved finish. If a strong negative potential is applied to the sharp electrode, the electric field near the sharp edge or point is enough to cause an electrical discharge in the gas, free carriers are created, and a low resistance path appears. If the reverse potential is applied, the electrical field strength around the smooth electrode is not enough to start a discharge. (The discharge can only start easily at the negative end because electrons are much more mobile than positive ions.) These are sometimes used for high-voltage high-current rectification in power supply applications.

Ah, sorry, I should've followed up immediately. According to Electronics by Millman and Seely (1951), there's a whole slew of gas-filled tubes, with various internal structures. I'll have to think about where to put them, though, as some aren't really diodes. (As for the paragraph above, I'm not sure about this "very sharp" electrode etc. business; it'd be enough to say that the tubes operate based on breakdown/ionization. It also seems it's a cold cathode tube. I doubt such things are used anymore, as a significant reverse voltage would also cause conduction.) - mako 05:06, 6 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe you are discussing this? (talk) 16:26, 23 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No V-I curves...?[edit]

There are no V-I curves for the different diodes. Perhaps one for the "normal" or rectifier P-N diode and one for the zener/avalanche diodes would be helpful. If there's consensus, I will create the images and insert them into the articles - unless the images have already been created and excluded for some reason. Rohitbd 12:59, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I made one to show negative resistance, which is used in Gunn diode and Tunnel diode. You could base new ones off of that? Also you should always check Commons before making a new image (I don't do this often enough.) I don't see any images for this on Commons, though. — Omegatron 13:43, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have created the V-I characteristics image of a rectifier diode as below. Please let me know if it is ok. Thank you. Rohitbd 18:25, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I-V characteristics of a P-N junction diode (not to scale).
Looks good, though some numbers for current would provide useful context. Maybe a title too - "Typical semiconductor diode I-V characteristic", perhaps. - mako 19:50, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We could indicate current values, but IMHO that will lead non-technical readers into believing that the values shown are the factual ones - which is not the case. Currents vary from device to device. The forward turn-on voltage, however, is true for almost all Si/Ge devices and IMO can be included as a fact. PS: I have slightly changed the V-I curve in the reverse bias region. I believe this to be the correct one for a rectifier - the previous one was perhaps more zener-like. Rohitbd 11:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A non-technical reader may also assume that the chart is to scale; I just think some context is useful. Perhaps then a note in the caption about typical currents would be appropriate. Also, I have never heard these referred to as "V-I" characteristics. The ordering is always Y-axis, X-axis. Is this opposite (to me) convention common in your experience? - mako 22:00, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok...but I do not know (rather remember) what typical current values to use. Maybe you can provide me with some (leakage current, reverse current...?). And "V-I" is perhaps my own "quirk"...maybe I memorised it that way all along - I shall use whatever is the accepted convention - good that I did not add this directly into the image. Rohitbd 07:40, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looking at the datasheet for a 1N4001, the quoted reverse current is 30 uA. There's no forward leakage parameter; not really a factor when rectifying I suppose. I guess I would say typical current in the off region is on the order of microamps. - mako 00:21, 30 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Added the relevant intormation into the image. Please check if everything is in order and I will link it into the article. Rohitbd 09:48, 30 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since no one has objected, I have added the image to the article. Rohitbd 10:08, 5 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have replaced the image with a vector image. H1voltage (talk) 04:36, 16 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The new image does not include much of the information from the old image. Additionally, both images do not appear to resemble an exponential curve at all. Could someone actually use Shockley diode equation (further down on the page) to generate the curve (above the breakdown region, of course)? —TedPavlic (talk) 14:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The IV curve shown looks pretty symmetric. Forgive my ignorance, I guess this may be true for some types of diode, but the whole point of using a rectifying diode is that the characteristic isn't symmetric. More asymmetry would also help to more clearly identify forward and reverse bias etc...Michi zh (talk) 09:49, 22 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestions to add to the I-V plot: Get rid of the kink at V=0. Compare ideal with nonideal diodes. Draw it to scale, with an inset to zoom in to show the (tiny!) reverse bias leakage current and the line passing through the origin (I=0 at V=0). I'll add these if I get time, otherwise please Be Bold. Mwistey (talk) 06:04, 14 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like the suggestions by talk, but since Nov. 2011 no one implemented them! Here is my contribution: I prepared a SVG figure with the Shockley equation and some realistic parameters.

I-V characteristics of a P-N junction diode.

Shall we replace Fig. 5 in the article? Hldsc (talk) 18:19, 9 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just reverted someone trying to add "Zener" to the caption. The intention of this diagram is not to portray a Zener diode, but rather a general p-n diode. However, I failed to notice that the drive for this change was that the breakdown voltage is shown as 4 volts. The editor is quite right that this is entirely unrealistic for a typical diode and the diagram needs adjusting. The positive and negative voltages could be drawn to different scales, but posssibly a better solution is for a break in the curve. Show, for instance, -1 V to +1 V and - 40 V to -45 V as two disconnected sections. SpinningSpark 10:45, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sadly, although Hldsc claims they drew this as an svg, they have uploaded it as png. It will have to be redrawn to fix the problem unless the original svg is provided. SpinningSpark 10:53, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hldsc has now supplied me with the svg and I have uploaded a modification. SpinningSpark 21:15, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In Zenear diode Avalanche breakdown happen with respect to increase of I amps. Here I am assuming I amps and V volts is in a Bijection function. It means diode couldn't tolerate the I amps which is raised or given in period of time. In that time several spike and surges happens so or while it might that Avalanche happens so. Now lets revisit the Graph, instead of taking I amps units in Y-axis and V volts in X-axis. Lets take the time alone in anyone of the axis, say in Y. Then the way Zenear diode function is can be said as f(x), like a share market graph. When it is plotted f(x) reveals several truths. That can be analyzed in several Metrics and many assertive truthful abstract can be get to known by the fact. NOW say Avalache starts freaks out. F(X) becomes collateral. But assume we formed the powerful Zenear as is so. So f(x) still in assertive metrics. So finally the function T is impacted by some ev (Electron Volt). Now think in such a way that this Zenear Diode is formed for this functionality only. That means the impact say ΔT happens within Zenear. So VLSI and connected systems is as powerful as LHC So, hence this ΔT can impact T.

F(X) == T + ΔT => F(X) == dt.

It reveals, it is just that there exists and can be x = f(y) by holding and reversing Bijection in virtual or in realistic way. Lets form the powerful circuits.–Dev Anand Sadasivamt@lk 11:52, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

types of diodes[edit]

i love how the list of diode types is in a completely random order. the descriptions are fine, but it's impossible to quickly find the desired entry. typical "missing the forest for the trees" behavior from wikipedians.

I don't understand the paragraph concerning gold-dopped diodes: gold is supposed to make the diodes operating faster, but the paragraphs ends on the topic of main rectification (i.e very slow operation). Also, it is said that gold-dopped diodes can operate at "signal" speed. Does that mean "high frequency signal"?CyrilB 13:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thermionic or gaseous state[edit]

Is it planed or hoped that gasious state devices will be described here. David R. Ingham 04:46, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I noted that the section previously titled as above (when Mr. Ingham wrote his comment) is now titled: Thermionic and gaseous-state diodes, so there seems to be some confusion over whether "gaseous-state"is just another term for "thermionic" or is a separate and distinct type of diode. There is the concept of gas-filled tubes, but no indication in that article that these are used for diodes. For example, one gas-filled tube, the thyratron, comes in triode, tetrode and pentode variations, and a krytron has four electrodes. If there is such a thing as a gas-filled diode, it seems pretty obscure. On the other hand, I found one source which implies that the term gaseous-state, rather than being a synonym for gas-filled, is a misnomer for vacuum tube, or perhaps implies some early diodes were near-vacuum tubes. I'm leaning towards the latter interpretation and will update the article accordingly. If someone knows of actual gas-filled diodes, please update the article with information on them. Wbm1058 (talk) 21:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you're right; "gaseous state" seems to be used only as an alternative to "solid state". Dicklyon (talk) 21:23, 30 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shockley's Diode Equation[edit]

Please stop giving Shockley more credit than deserved. He didn't invent the transistor. And, it could easily be argued he didn't invent the BJT. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 8 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've heard something about the equation not taking into account "photon recycling effects", which cause the equation to be very inaccurate in the case of photovoltaics. I think this would be significant enough to note on the page. Fresheneesz 21:18, 23 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Shockley equation is derived with the assumptions that the only processes giving rise to current are drift, diffiusion, and thermal R-G. It ignores photocurrent and R-G center processes. That's why it's often called the ideal diode equation; R-G center current in the depletion region, series resistance at high forward bias, and reverse breakdown processes are all unaccounted for if you rely only on the Shockley equation. -- uberpenguin @ 2006-06-25 13:36Z
Surely the Shockley equation should have its own page? (talk) 09:04, 15 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For the record, Shockley diode equation now has its own page. Em3rgent0rdr (talk) 18:59, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First Diodes[edit]

I always thought the first diodes were point contact diodes, used in crystal sets, but the article claims the first diodes were thermionic. Any references to back the article's claim? Also, my understanding is that the symbol for a diode is actually a drawing of a point contact diode. It has nothign to do with arrows and the direction of current flow. The symbol is polarised as it is because the 'whisker' of a point contact diode is the anode and the flat plate is the cathode. The "arrow" in the diode symbol is really a sharpened needle (whisker) on a flat plate.John Dalton 11:27, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that the article needs clarifying. I will try to work on it a little. Maybe the confusion is that the first thing called a "diode" was a thermionic tube. Crystals predated vacuum tubes but they were called rectifiers. Today it would be called a Schottky barrier diode. Snafflekid 19:46, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the rectifier article: "the difference between the term diode and the term rectifier is merely one of usage, e.g. the term rectifier describes a diode that is being used to convert AC to DC.". The rectifer article goes on to describe the *process* of rectification with passing reference to "point contact rectifiers or crystal detectors". As a *device* crystal diodes/rectifiers seem to have "fallen through the cracks" in that the device itself is outside the scope of the rectifier article and not considered to be a diode in the diode article. Perhaps we are a victim of changing terminology? Crystal (point contact) diodes were originally named by the function they performed. At some point as rectifiers found wider application (possibly corresponding with the invention of the themionic diode??) the name of the function (rectification) and device (diode) seem to have been separated. Possibly this is why themionic diode have gottten the label of "first diodes", as they appeared around the same time as the word "diode" found wider usage? Need to find references to back up this theory!John Dalton 20:25, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've added a section on crystal diodes. The article is now internally inconsistent as both thermionic diodes are crystal diodes are claiming to be the first. If I get the time I'll try to fix it, but fel free to jump in before me.John Dalton 21:03, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The saga continues. I'm not so sure crystal diodes were used before thermionic diodes now. The principle of crystal diodes was discovered in 1874. The principle of thermionic diodes was discovered in 1873. A Thermionic device was patented in 1883, but developed no further. The first practical thermionic diode was patented in 1904. Crystal diodes were in use before then. Maybe I'll just add a 'history' section to the article.John Dalton 21:24, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Radio demodulation[edit]

By my understanding, crystal radios got their name from the crystal in the rectifier, not the quartz crystal in the earphone.John Dalton

I didn't see any reference to a needle and a razor blade?

Yes, the word crystal in the phrase "Crystal Radio" refers to the crystal used in the rectifier. - Tim —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Would anyone know the reasoning behind placing a diode across the controls of a DC low voltage relay?

It's a protection diode. When you switch off the relay coil, the collapsing magnetic field creates a voltage (the back-EMF) much larger than that used to energise it, and of the opposite polarity. This voltage can sometimes be enough to destroy the transistor that controls the relay. The diode soaks up the back-EMF without interfering with the normal operation of the relay. --Heron 20:53, 18 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not fast enough... I put my explanation, though it is not as good!
The magnetic coil of a relay is an inductor, so it is not possible to instantaneously interrupt the current in it. If you try to do so, using a switch or a transistor, the inductor will generate high voltages that can damage or destroy your switch. Placing a diode across the coil provides an alternative circuit to the current (until the inductor is completely discharged), so there is no overvoltage. -- CyrilB 20:58, 18 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm considering rewording the "Overvoltage protection" section and possibly renaming it to something more appropriate as i think it might be missleading, especialy to an amateur. the section should realy refrerence inductance with perhaps a wikilink to inductors. i would appreciate peoples thoughts before i change the section. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Keirstitt (talkcontribs) 10:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

There is now an article that talks about exactly this -- flyback diode. So ... should we explain this in both diode and flyback diode ? -- 15:43, 25 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Radiation Detector[edit]

(mostly as a reminder to myself) the section on radiation detection needs clean-up and correction. Unfortunately also the semiconductor detector article is not good, so I can't copy from there. Sergio Ballestrero 23:10, 3 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Picture Links[edit]

I made the titles of the schematic diagrams into links to their respective articles.-- 23:24, 30 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have removed the obscure line:

                                   Engr.Louriel R. Manatom

I have no idea why it was there; if somebody has an explanation, he's free to offer it. John Reid 07:36, 16 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I suggest this be added to the caption. It would make the illustration useful for someone trying to figure out which way a diode goes. The trouble is I'm not sure it's true - can someone who knows, check?

Types of diodes. All of these would be represented by a diode symbol (see below) with the arrow pointing down.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:08, 17 April 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

the left one (and now in the article the bottom one) is a bridge rectifier (containing four single diodes), that makes it difficult to find a proper caption for arrow directions. Other types show a band for the cathode terminal, the screw-like ones mostly have the case as cathode terminal.--Ulfbastel 13:32, 26 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Greek roots[edit]

The term "diode" does not come from "two" and "odos". The "di" is from "dia" so "diodos" is "dia-odos", the path through which something passes. On the other hand in William Eccles the story goes that Eccles invented the term Diode to describe an evacuated glass tube containing two electrodes; an anode and a cathode.. However the word doesn't have that meaning in greek, it would be nice if there was a source so we could know what Eccles was really thinking - Badseed 00:48, 27 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The OED says di-, twice, and odos, way. Is it wrong? --Heron 10:52, 27 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unlikely, but the fact is that that's not what it means in greek. Maybe i got the etymology wrong, I'll dig into it more - Badseed 22:58, 28 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Greek di in diode comes from dia. I am certain about this, since I'm Greek and study at the Technical University in Athens. Please think about what a diode does: it allows current to pass in a certain direction. So it is a *path* *through* which current passes. And yes Oxford English Dictionary is the definitive dictionary of the English language -no question about that-, but two-way has no real meaning for what a diode does. But as I said, a *path* *through* which current passes in a certain direction tells us definitly what a diode really does -at least in Greek. If di came from two "to describe an evacuated glass tube containing two electrodes", then what does two and path really mean? If an English word is really a Greek Word and this etymology is more logical, then why not accept it? Or at least write both, and give the reader the privilege of choosing?
We're not in the business of original research, so unless you can come up with an authoritative source, then the OED version stays. Etymology is based on history, not logic or even meaning. It doesn't matter whether Eccles got his Greek right or wrong, or even if he made it up on a whim: if he said that he was inspired by those Greek roots, then that, by definition, is the etymology. Anyway, going back to your logic, maybe he should have called it the "dielectrode", but I think he showed good style by abbreviating it. --Heron 19:43, 8 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eccles was honest enough to site the Greek roots of the word diode, only he made an understandable grammatical error, mistaking "δι-" as derived from the word for number "2". Τhe origin is INDEED the word "δίοδος" (pronounced: thEE-o-thos) which exists in the Greek dictionary since ancient times and it means "through passage". It is in fact a compound word, derived from the preposition "διά" (pronounced thee-Ah") and the noun "ὁδός" (pronounced: o-thOs) with the (weaker) vowel "α" dropped in favor of the (stronger) vowel "ο". Τhis is a common grammatical phenomenon in Greek called "elision" in English. The "δι-" is not derived therfore from the word "δύο" (pronounced:thEE-o) because the meaning of the word "δίοδος" does not mean "two paths" but the exact opposite: "One path" [only] between two points. You may consult an English-Greek or (even better) directly a Greek dictionary, if -of course- you possess a good understanding of the [Greek] language. A good starting point would be HERE. BTW, Etymology is indeed based on meaning and logic (and many other things) but not so much in history. It is defined as the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meaning and spelling have changed "throughout" history but is not "based" ON history. Thank you for your attention and you may contact me at the following address if you have any questions:

Meaning of 'diode'[edit]

"In electronics, a diode is a two-terminal component,"

You'd expect so from the word derivation, but direct (filament heated) thermionic diodes have 3 terminals. (Similarly, direct heated triodes have 4 terminals.)

For sources for this, see any valve/tube basics text.

The term 'diode' may have originated with a 2 electrode device, but for a century or so, ie almost the entire history of the word, it has been used to describe devices that conduct one way better than the other, and of course some of these are not 2 terminal devices. Tabby (talk) 18:20, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Devices that conduct one way better than the other are rectifiers. Remember the term diode was coined at a time when vacuum tubes were ascendant and semiconductor crystals were rendered (temporarily) obsolete. di- does mean two and Eccles didn't name the device "diaode". Another term derived from Greek di- is dipole. Wbm1058


User (Wbm1058) does not possess a solid knowledge of the Greek language, therfore, makes a few erroneous statements. Δι- by it self does not always mean "two". It could also be a derivation from the preposition "διά" as I previously explained. The word for the number two is "δύο". Indeed the word dipole comes from the word "δίπολος" which in Greek is an adjective meaning "having two poles". The etymology is as such: Δύο+πόλος the "o" is dropped, the word becomes δύπολος and for grammatical/spelling reason that go beyond the scope of this the ypsilon "υ" is converted into a iota "i". Finally, δίπολος is the nominative (=ονομαστική) case (=πτώση) but in normal use the word appears in the accusative (=αιτιατική πτώση) e.g. "τον δίπολο" which also very similar but should not be confused with the nominative of the same adjective but in the neutral gender e.g. "το δίπολο".

Finally, Tabby, a resistor is a two terminal component also, is n't it? So is a capacitor, a battery, a rheostat, a coil, a magnet and so forth. I can think of many components with "two-terminals" which -however- are NOT a diode. E.g. having two terminals does not qualify something as a diode. It is the one-way through passage of electrons that give a diode its unique name. Again the di- in diode comes from the preposition "διά" which means (almost verbatim) "through". The di- in dipole on the other hand comes from the number two = "δύο", e.g a magnet is indeed a dipole because it is characterized by the presence of TWO poles with opposite ...polarity. Again, please consult an appropriate dictionary, BEFORE you commit into writing inaccurate statements, especially about matters that you possess little or no knolwdge at all. Sincerely,

1N numbering[edit]

This article is barely more than a stub. No mention of the 1NXXXX numbering system, used for decades as the main way of labelling diodes. No references. No See also or External links.- 12:38, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A standardized 1N-series numbering system was introduced in the US by EIA/JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) about 1960. Among the most popular in this series were: 1N34A/1N270 (Germanium signal), IN914/1N4148 (Silicon signal) and 1N4001-1N4007 (Silicon 1A power rectifier).

"The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (Once known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council), is the semiconductor engineering standardization body of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), a trade association that represents all areas of the electronics industry. JEDEC was originally created in 1960 as a joint activity between EIA an NEMA, to cover the standardization of discrete semiconductor devices and later expanded in 1970 to include integrated circuits." [1] - 13:34, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"SemiConducting Diodes" section[edit]

There seems to be a small error in this section of the article. The author says that when an electric field is placed across the diode which has the same polarity as the "built -in" electric field, then current is allowed to flow. Assuming that the author is using the conventions of positive charge movement constituting current flow and electric field lines pointing from regions of positive charge to regions of negative then and only then does the reader know what he means when he says that current flows from the P region to the N region. P-type semiconductors are doped with group IIIa atomic elements and N-type semiconductors are doped with group Va atomic elements. On their own they consitute neutral atoms, however, when placed in the silicon lattices of a PN diode electrons move around to form these "built-in" electric fields. The author says that in order for the holes naturally existing in the P region to be filled wiht electrons, electrons must leave the N region to combine with the holes. Being group V elements in the N region, this would leave behind a net positive charge in that region. Conversly, there being group III element in the P region, having these holes filled would create a net negative charge in that region. So we have established that there then should be electric field vectors in the material pointing from the N region to the P region. Since diodes only allow current to flow in the direction of P to N however, placing an electric potential across the diode which has the opposite polarity of the "built-in" field will allow current to flow. This contradicts the statements of the author. Furthermore, you can make sense of this in your mind by thinking of the "built-in" field as a manefestation of the depletion of charge carriers at the interface as the author suggests you do. Then since this built-in field is caused by the device taking on insulating qualities, it would make sense that you should destroy these qualities to allow for conduction of charge: hence placing an electric field across the device with a polarity opposite to that of the "built-in" electric field. 16:13, 1 July 2007 (UTC)Ted Cackowski Jr.Reply[reply]

hello this will be grate if u give a sketch sectional view of a diod with labeling and from that labeling discribing the specific usage of that part of the object(diode).-rathin dholakia(india)

I wonder if more explicit detail of current flow convention could be described. I am thinking from the perspective of "in the days" of thermionic valves, circuit nomenclature discuss current in terms of electrons (from Cathode to Anode). Its easy to depict the idea of electrons "boiling" off a heated Cathode and flying to the positive charged Anode. However when semiconductors arrived on the scene, circuit nomenclature discussion of current flow became the "conventional" current flow, and so the arrow in the diode symbol depicts the reverse of what would sensibly be the current flow (as in electrons). If someone knows and can write about the history of how this came about, I think would be most appropriate in this diode subject. If I could change history, I would draw the arrow pointing at the Anode, lol! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 20 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

VI curves[edit]

Should we show a log-log VI curve? — Omegatron 04:11, 12 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question of merge with PIV[edit]

In my view the PIV article should be deleted as it is very specific to a particular application, making it misleading the way it is linked in most articles. Brews ohare 19:23, 15 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have added an alternative case to the Peak_Inverse_Voltage article that makes it acceptable (in my view). Brews ohare 19:34, 15 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"similar in appearance to incandescent light bulbs"

1920s ones were, but not more modern valves. The shape, metal innards and base are all different to familiar filament bulbs. Tabby (talk) 19:02, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • it should note how to tell the difference between signal and germaniums - signal diodes have a black stripe and the germaniums have a green stripe. and are all signal diodes the same? some types are 9v some are 6.7v does this matter?. (talk) 09:58, 28 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rectifier vs diode[edit]

"From the rectifier article: "the difference between the term diode and the term rectifier is merely one of usage, e.g. the term rectifier describes a diode that is being used to convert AC to DC."."

This is incorrect though, there are a number of non-diode devices which have seen use as rectifiers. Commutator and vibrator rectifiers are 2 examples. Tabby (talk) 19:02, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article credits Guthrie with discovering thermionic emission. Per the reference, he studied hot metal objects in air. Thomas Edison discovered the unidirectional conductance in a vacuum from a heated filament. This is surely not a "rediscovery" unless Guthrie also used an evacuated tube or globe in his research. Was a hot metal object in air ever used in the vacuum tube era of electronics? Edison (talk) 18:38, 12 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reverse recovery time[edit]

From the page Reverse recovery time which I have nominated for speedy:

Following the end of forward conduction in a diode, reverse current flows for a short time. The device does not attain its full blocking capability until the reverse current ceases.

Bongomatic (talk) 08:23, 23 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just added a section and stub for the "reverse recovery effect". Mikiemike (talk) 18:39, 5 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I want to know about the working of Power diode.kindly provide me the topic discription "WORKING OF POWER DIODE". thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 28 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

douse anyone know an example of where a diode is used? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:13, 10 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peltier diode[edit]

I question if these are actually diodes. Yes, there may be P and N type semiconductor involved, but there is no rectifying junction. --Speedevil (talk) 02:01, 29 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added some verbiage clarifying this[edit]

--Speedevil (talk) 11:57, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IV-characteristic / Working principle[edit]

The working principle part of the semiconductor diode section repeatedly mentions recombination. However, the recombination of electrons and holes in the semiconductor diode is a parasitic effect and not involved in the device operation at all. The majority carriers leave their respective zone due to the "diffusive forces", i.e. their thermal motion. The majority carriers leave behind their ionized dopands which builds up a field that holds them back and stops the process. Additionally, it seems more reasonable to me to first explain the working principle and then discuss the different types. Etaijoverlap (talk) 22:25, 6 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The focus on recombination does seem like an unusual way to describe it, and I don't see a source cited for it, so if you have a sourced approach that's better, that might be OK. On the other hand, I think it's true that when there's a forward current there needs to be recombination; but not necessarily very quickly. I don't see how you can invoke diffusion to get a carrier gradient though; diffusion will try to eliminate the gradient, while drift from the fixed dopant charge induced field will try to maintain the gradient. Dicklyon (talk) 22:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, in any realistic device there will surely be generation and recombination, but it is not part of the wanted device operation (unless we are talking about LEDs). Generation will lead to an increase in the reverse current and recombination should actually increase the resistance. You can get this quite easily from a standard semiconductor device simulation. I couldn't find this very statement in any published sources but you can look at "Solid State Electronic Devices" by B.G. Streetman or "Physical Models for Semiconductor Devices" by J.E. Carroll. There, the current through the device is basically due to diffusion of minority carriers injected from the respective other side of the space charge region. Regarding your question of how this works without recombination: Imagine you put an n and a p region together. The majority carriers of either side will see a huge gradient at the interface and diffuse. The ionized dopands left behind will then create a field that gets larger as more and more carriers leave their respectively doped area. The process will stop when the diffusive force is balanced by the electric field of the dopands. Still, the diffusion part will try to eliminate the gradient but it will be challenged by the electric field that tries to pull the majority carriers back where they belong. Etaijoverlap (talk) 12:06, 7 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The focus on recombination is one way to describe the characteristics - the description with the electric field is a different one. A possible source that uses recombination as the main step - though possibly not high quality - is here [2]. For doing device modeling from the microscopic parameters this way is the logic one: the saturation current is directly related to recombination live-times. The carriers can only diffuse across the junction if there is a sufficient gradient in concentration - with slow recombination the minority carrier concentration rises so much as to limit the diffusion current. So there are different ways to explain the diode. The preference depends on background and goal.--Ulrich67 (talk) 17:21, 7 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I don't think that recombination and the field are two equivalent descriptions of the device characteristics, as they are completely different physical processes. I agree that the saturation current is determined by recombination, but I see this as a parasitic effect that is happening in parallel to rather than as part of the device operation. It will be necessary to explain the details of realistic IV-curves but is of minor impact to the width of the space charge regions and thus to the rectifying behavior, which I consider the main purpose of the diode. The gradient in the concentration is maintained by the field, see my earlier posts. As a sidenote, also in your reference the width of the space charge region is defined from the depletion approximation, which is based on the electric field. Etaijoverlap (talk) 17:44, 8 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Calculation with field and space charge is a first step, to get a rough picture of the rectifying behavior, but it does not provide the full IV-characteristics. To get a quantitative IV curve one needs to include the recombination and generation currents, at least for a PN Diode. The electrons flowing in forward direction have to pass the depletion zone and have a recombination event (in the junction or on either side). For PN diodes and much of the IV-curve the recombination (or generation with reverse voltage) is the rate limiting step, not passing the depletion zone. So there is no way to get the correct IV-curve without taking recombination serious. Looking at the field and space charge is more like explaining why the diode can block a relatively high voltage and possibly explain break though. Looking at recombination /generation is the way to calculate the current at a given voltage and also describe dynamic behavior like reverse recovery. As a prerequisite this needs the field in the depletion zone, but here details don't matter: it's not the changing width of the depletion zone that causes the exponential IV curve, but the exponential dependence of minority charge concentration (and thus rate of recombination) on the position of the chemical potential. Taking recombination as the important step, the nonlinear and asymmetric characteristic comes since generation current (revere polarity) is limited to the value at no minority carriers, but recombination current (forward direction) can increase easily just as the minority carrier concentration can increase by orders of magnitude.--Ulrich67 (talk) 19:38, 8 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite frankly, this battles my understanding of a diode operation. So what you are saying is that the exponential IV curve of the diode arises from the recombination. Can you give a reference for that? The reference you gave before only states that the recombination gives the same shape but the main behavior comes from the depletion approximation. Etaijoverlap (talk) 21:26, 8 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One important part, responsible for the exponential shape is the assumption that the quasi fermi potentials go right through the depletion region, and thus the formulas for the minority carrier concentrations at the boundary. This is somewhat related to the depletion approximation - as to have the drop in electric potential concentrated at the depletion region. The exact shape of the potential drop or the width of the depletion layer (e.g. in a gradual PN-junction) does not matter.

The second step is than the approximation of a recombination rate proportional to the increase in minority carrier concentrations (thus a constant lifetime). Later the results are written with the diffusion length L instead of carrier lifetime, but these two are related.--Ulrich67 (talk) 16:52, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What do you mean by saying the quasi fermi potentials go "right through" the depletion region? I mean where else are they supposed to go? Could you please try to reformulate your answer? I cannot follow you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Etaijoverlap (talkcontribs) 22:05, 10 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A reasonable detailed calculation of the I-V curve can be found here: [3].--Ulrich67 (talk) 20:25, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conventional Current Direction in Caption[edit]

Can we please stop saying that conventional current (the direction positively charged particles would take) flows out of the cathode? Cathode is n-type (negative-type) and is doped to contain more electrons, so the conventional current would be flowing into this, as the negative charge flows out of it. Stop reverting what is an actually cogent edit. You will confuse people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:21, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When it is forward biased, majority carriers will flow out of each region into the other, otherwise the diode wouldn't conduct - holes flow out of the p-region into the n-region, and electrons flow out of the n-region into the p-region. Therefore the direction of conventional (positive) current is from the p to n region, and out of the n region into the wire. The n-region is the cathode, so conventional current flows out of the cathode. An equivalent way to look at it is that the p-region must be have a positive voltage with respect to the n-region, so (positive) holes will be repelled into the n-region and electrons in the n-region will be attracted into the p-region. Since the p (anode) region has the positive voltage, electrons will be attracted up the cathode wire into the cathode (n-region) and across the junction into the p-region. Since electrons (negative charge) are flowing into the cathode, conventional current (positive charge) is flowing out of the cathode. An easy way to remember it is that forward bias current flows in the direction the diode "arrow" points - from anode to cathode. --ChetvornoTALK 07:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two different Zener Diode symbols ?[edit]

The "Zener Diode" page has the symbol:

which is quite different to the symbol on the "Diode" page:

Please would someone knowledgeable add a correction or note to indicate why there is a difference ? Darkman101 (talk) 09:58, 13 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Threshold Voltage[edit]

This article continues the myth that there is a Threshold Voltage in the forward V/I curve, however as the curve is essentially an Exponential, there can be no threshold, ie the rate of change is smooth and continuous, there is no elbow. Draw it on a Log scale and the "elbow" disappears. The idea of an Offset Voltage comes from a simple piece-wise approximation that is taught to students and technicians, but is then taken as gospel. The Threshold Voltage does not in fact exist. Gutta Percha (talk) 06:58, 17 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for Discussion of {{Semiconductor packages}} in electronic articles[edit]

Please see the corresponding discussion thread at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Electronics. Thanks! • SbmeirowTalk • 23:36, 15 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of diodes in overdriving and distorting signals in music[edit]

Overdrive and/or distortion (clipping) is among the most often employed effects in modern music - particular for guitarists. The effect is overwhelmingly achieved through use of diodes, yet no mention is made of this in the article. The various distortion variations are listed here: but that does not focus on curcuits or components. This article may therefore be a good place for this. (talk) 07:15, 4 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unsupported section[edit]

The mention of Guthrie in the vacuum tube diodes section contains unsupported and incorrect information. The citations do not support that Guthrie discovered thermionic emmission and the speculation in this section of the Wiki is original and incorrect work by the submitter. Examination of the cited sources will show that Guthrie did not present any conceptual model rising to the level of "principle". The second source cited clearly states that researchers such as Guthrie and others of Guthrie's time did not know the mechanism behind the effects they observed. Specifically they did not know whether some chemical reaction in the air might be responsible or whether some other action may be the cause of their observations. Guthrie was working with static electricity rather than current electricity so did not share any observations regarding current electricity in the cited work. (talk) 16:18, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There seems to be plenty of book sources making this claim.[4][5][6][7] SpinningSpark 17:37, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
7 June 2018, Vacuum tube history Guthrie, Edison section edited to accurately reflect sources cited in the article. LSMFT (talk) 18:17, 7 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Thanks to the author(s) from the Tatar Wikipedia participants[edit]

Thank you, the author(s) of this article. We translated your article into the Tatar language.--A.Khamidullin (talk) 12:35, 26 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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1N34 circular reference[edit]

A reference to the newworldencyclopedia about the 1N34 diode has been added. However, upon examining the history there, the phrase "still used in radio receivers as a detector and occasionally in specialized analog electronics" that appears there was just copied from this Wikipedia article. Hence it is not a reference to valid source. I'm restoring the "needs reference" template. Constant314 (talk) 21:16, 25 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 1N34 germanium diode should have its own article![edit]

I haven't looked to see if Constant314's comment of 2017 is still applicable. But I was surprised to find that Wikipedia doesn't have an article dedicated to either the 1N34 and its variants, or perhaps early germanium diodes more generally. The 1N34 was introduced in 1946, and it was the first commercial germanium diode[1]. I easily found more info such as this link[2]. I don't have time to do more on this, but someone should. Oaklandguy (talk) 02:15, 2 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why? Is there the remotest chance a random diode will pass the general notability standard? No individual part number is notable on its own. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:59, 8 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually I don't see 1N34 as just a part number, it was THE diode for many years, before silicon diodes became available, and is still used (I do!) especially when you want the low forward voltage drop (like for a crystal radio). And Oaklandguy wanted a page on "1N34 and its variants, or perhaps early germanium diodes more generally" which I agree with (so I don't care about the articles title, just that 1N34 redirects there). But someone else needs to write it. Interferometrist (talk) 19:21, 8 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1N34 / 1N34A are well-known part numbers to anyone who fixes older equipment. It's a lot more notable than claimed. • 06:24, 14 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's not the general notability guideline though, is it? It's just a part number. You might as well write an article about a 1/4 inch by 20 TPI stove bolt - I bet there's even more of them out there than 1N34 diodes and they are just as important to the people who restore antique farm machinery. --Wtshymanski (talk) 00:21, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"1/4 inch by 20 TPI stove bolt" is not a part number. • SbmeirowTalk • 04:26, 20 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was also quite surprised to learn that the 1N34 did not have its own article. For my blog, I was going to reference it, and as I often do, I did a Google search for "1N34 Wikipedia". Lo and behold, there was no article, but this discussion showed up as the search result.

For an example of a "part number" that has its own article, see the article for the CK722 transistor.

Clemlaw (talk) 01:12, 11 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ "H. F. Crystal Diodes". Radio-Craft. March 1946. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  2. ^ Ward, Jack. "Transistor Museum History of Crystal Diodes. Volume 1: 1950s Germanium Radio Detectors. (c 2008)" (PDF). Transistor Museum. Retrieved 1 July 2021.

Photo needed[edit]

How about some pictures of diodes that didn't come from Radio Shack? They go up to 2000 or 3000 amps, but Commons has nothing other than a myriad of painfully drawn schematic symbols and photos of various bitty diodes. We don't need a million more pictures of DO41 cases, the reader surely gets the idea after the first 20 or 30. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:51, 12 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Small-signal behavior[edit]

Based on the diode equation, I would expect the first derivative term in the Taylor series to be significant. I would expect that the small signal I:V curve would be linear or linear + square. However, in mixer and detector applications, the linear term may be unimportant since it produces harmonics at the fundamental which may be filtered out. Anyway, I think the statement that the I:V curve is square law needs some clarification. Constant314 (talk) 18:54, 7 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree; it should be made clear in that section that "square law" is an approximation to the actual exponential curve which is only valid over small signal levels. It is the 2nd order term (2nd derivative, coefficient of v2) in the Taylor expansion which is significant and produces the difference frequencies which form the audio output; I think that is what you meant. The first order term (linear term or first derivative, coefficient of v) just produces components in the output at the original frequencies. The "square law" approximation is obtained by truncating the Taylor series after the 2nd order term: --ChetvornoTALK 19:24, 7 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. I think the missing information is that a detector or mixer application is assumed.Constant314 (talk) 19:53, 7 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Editors Chetvorno, Constant314, thank you for your illuminating notes - I edited the section, hopefully it is improved. Please add or change as you see fit. LSMFT (talk) 15:44, 8 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please check the reference to see if zero bias is assumed.Constant314 (talk) 17:05, 8 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reduce "Shockley diode equation" section and just point to Shockley diode equation[edit]

I would suggest removing all discussion in Diode § Shockley diode equation out of this article and instead merge it into its dedicated page Shockley diode equation. The most this page's section on it should provide is writing out the equation and identifying the names of variables and maybe including a thumbnail picture, and maybe mention that details can be found in Shockley diode equation page. Em3rgent0rdr (talk) 19:05, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's been over 24 hours, and I haven't heard any objections, so I've went ahead and cut it down to just one sentence and am telling readers to visit Shockley diode equation for details. Em3rgent0rdr (talk) 03:29, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]