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The conditions necessary for the formation of avalanche shock fronts, narrow layers of avalanche moving through a diode depletion layer faster than the carrier saturated drift velocity, are shown to be related to the large-signal limits of Read and more general avalanche transit time diode theory. Analysis of shock fronts by a simple analytic method has been used to interpret computer simulations of high efficiency microwave oscillator diodes. The oscillation mode, called the Trapatt mode, involves a compensated electron-hole plasma that is trapped in the depletion layer for a portion of each cycle.
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