Skip to Main Content
Semiconductor diodes have achieved great prominence in the electronic industry because of their outstanding performance and great versatility. They are consequently of increasing importance in the education of electrical engineers. Since new diodes are being continually developed, it is essential that the educational emphasis be placed on underlying principles rather than on the devices themselves. In this paper a brief descriptive outline is presented of some of the p-n junction phenomena that are important in understanding diode performance. Among these phenomena are nonlinear resistance, conductivity modulation, avalanche breakdown, carrier storage, junction capacitance, and carrier tunneling. As illustrations of these effects, the characteristics of several types of diodes are discussed.