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zener diode

The Zener diode or avalanche diode is a normal diode made of semiconductor material, but operated in the reverse direction. In the reverse direction, the Zener diode has a sudden change in its resistance value at a certain voltage, the Zener voltage, which approaches zero at this voltage. The characteristic curve has an extremely steep characteristic in this range. The Zener voltage is relatively constant regardless of the current

. The Zener or avalanche effect is achieved by selective doping

ofthe semiconductor material and is at voltages

ofa few volts

up to several hundred volts.In the avalanche effect, charge carriers are released from the silicon

. These electrons are strongly accelerated by the electric fields that build up and release further electrons from the semiconductor like an avalanche. This is why the avalanche effect is also referred to as the avalanche effect.

Circuit diagram and characteristic curve of the Zener diode

Circuit diagram and characteristic curve of the Zener diode

Specially developed Zener diodes are used for voltage stabilization, as overvoltage protection and for smoothing voltage peaks in overvoltage limiters. They are characterized by extremely short response times in the picosecond range and high reverse power capability. Depending on the design, the characteristic can be unidirectional and also bidirectional, i.e. have the same characteristic in the forward direction and reverse direction. These avalanche diodes are called suppressor diodes and are overvoltage protection diodes.

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Englisch: zener diode
Updated at: 23.02.2012
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