- A diode is an electrical component acting as a one-way valve for current.
- When voltage is applied across a diode in such a way that the diode allows current, the diode is said to be forward-biased.
- When voltage is applied across a diode in such a way that the diode prohibits current, the diode is said to be reverse-biased.
- The voltage dropped across a conducting, forward-biased diode is called the forward voltage. Forward voltage for a diode varies only slightly for changes in forward current and temperature, and is fixed by the chemical composition of the P-N junction.
- Silicon diodes have a forward voltage of approximately 0.7 volts.
- Germanium diodes have a forward voltage of approximately 0.3 volts.
- The maximum reverse-bias voltage that a diode can withstand without “breaking down” is called the Peak Inverse Voltage, or PIV rating.
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