Monday, November 1, 2010
The DIAC, or 'diode for alternating current', is a trigger diode that conducts current only after its breakdown voltage has been reached momentarily.
When this occurs, diode enters the region of negative dynamic resistance, leading to a decrease in the voltage drop across the diode and, usually, a sharp increase in current through the diode. The diode remains "in conduction" until the current through it drops below a value characteristic for the device, called the holding current. Below this value, the diode switches back to its high-resistance (non-conducting) state. This behavior is bidirectional, meaning typically the same for both directions of current.
Most DIACs have a three-layer structure with breakdown voltage around 30 V. In this way, their behavior is somewhat similar to (but much more precisely controlled and taking place at lower voltages than) a neon lamp.
DIACs have no gate electrode, unlike some other thyristors that they are commonly used to trigger, such as TRIACs. Some TRIACs contain a built-in DIAC in series with the TRIAC's "gate" terminal for this purpose.
DIACs are also called symmetrical trigger diodes due to the symmetry of their characteristic curve. Because DIACs are bidirectional devices, their terminals are not labeled as anode and cathode but as A1 and A2 or MT1 ("Main Terminal") and MT2.
Click here to read more about DIACs
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