The Barritt diode consists of a semiconductor plate on which semiconductor junctions are mounted. When a bias voltage is applied, one of the semiconductor junctions is switched in the forward direction and the other in the reverse direction.
Barritt diodes operate in a shoot-through mode in which the depletion regions of the junctions switched in the forward and reverse directions overlap each other, causing the diode current to increase disproportionately with even the slightest changes in diode voltages. The dynamic negative resistance of the Barritt diode increases in a certain frequency range with the phase delay of the RF signal. The effect is due to the phase shift between the RF electric field and the conducting current.