We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Silicon Diode?

By Heather Phillips
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
AboutMechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AboutMechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A silicon diode is a semiconductor that has positive and negative polarity, and can allow electrical current to flow in one direction while restricting it in another. The element silicon, in its pure form, acts as an electrical insulator. To enable it to conduct electricity, minute amounts of other elements — in a process known as doping — are added to it. These make the charged semiconductor material used to build silicon diodes, which are then often utilized in radios, computers, alternating current-direct current (AC/DC) power supplies, and as temperature and radiation sensors, among other applications.

When a silicon diode is made, it has both a positive and negative side, and a connection between the two, known as the p–n junction. The two differently-charged sides are a result of differing elements being added to the silicon. The positive side, known as an anode and made from p-type silicon, is doped with boron or gallium. Their atomic structure, combined with the silicon, creates the positive charge. Adding phosphorous or arsenic creates the negative cathode, made from n-type silicon, in a similar manner.

Silicon diode voltage has a forward bias of 0.7 volts. This means that 0.7 volts is needed to power the diode. Once this amount of energy passes through it, it will conduct electrical current across its p–n junction. It will also stop most current from flowing in the reverse. Every silicon diode has a maximum voltage that can be applied to it in reverse before it will break down. This tends to be at least 50 volts or more.

In a way, the diode can be thought of as an electrical check valve because it passes excess energy forward, but generally does not let a measurable amount back through in the reverse. A very small amount of current can, in fact, flow in reverse through the diode, but it is so minute that a circuit breakdown from this amount would typically be rare.

Since a silicon diode only generally allows power to flow one way, it can be used to protect other devices in a circuit, such as transistors, from receiving too much power and burning out. In addition, specially configured silicon diodes, known as Zener diodes, can be used to maintain a fixed voltage. These are made to intentionally conduct some electricity backward when necessary, in order to keep a precise amount of it flowing.

AboutMechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon997953 — On Mar 23, 2017

Awesome website with outstanding features.

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.