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 the input is not a sine wave, we usually do not think o it as a recti ication in the sense as it
was or power supply. For instance, we might want to have a series o pulses corresponding to

   o a square wave (see Fig. 10, le t hand side and right hand side o the capacitor
C). While both, the rising and the alling, pulses are in the output a ter di erentiation per ormed
by CR circuit. The simplest way is to recti y the di erentiated wave.

Fig.10. A series o pulses' recti ier.

We should remember about orward drop voltage o the diode: This circuit gives no output or
signal or input smaller then, orward drop voltage, let us say 0.5 V pp (peak to peak).  this is a
problem, there are various tricks that help to combat this limitation. For instance:
1. use Schottky diodes with smaller orward drop voltage (approximately 0.2V),
2. use so called circuit solution, which means modi ying the circuit structure and compensating
the drop,
3. use matched-pair compensation, use transistors, FETs.

 " 

Another application o diode is to pass the higher o two voltages without a ecting the lower. A
good example is battery backup, a method o keeping s device running ( or instance a precision
electronic clock) in case o power ailure. Figure 11 shows a circuit that does the job.
Fig.11. Diode OR gate, battery backup.

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1. The battery does nothing until the power ails.


2. Then the battery takes over the control, without interruption.

 "   (stabilizatory poziomu)


Sometimes it is necessary to limit the range o signal ( or instance not to exceed certain voltage
limit and not to destroy a device). The circuit in Fig. 12 will accomplish this.

Fig.12. Diode voltage clamp.

The diode prevents the output rom exceeding A 5.6V, with no e ect on voltages smaller than
this, including negative voltages. The only limitation is that the input must not be so negative
that the reverse breakdown voltage is exceeded. Diode clamps are the standard equipment on all
inputs in the CMOS amily o digital logic (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor).
Without them, the delicate input circuits are easily destroyed by static electricity.

  

The circuit in Fig.13 limits the 

  to one diode drop, roughly 0.6V.
Fig.13. Diode limiter.

t might seem very small, but i the next device is an ampli ier with large voltage ampli ication,
its input has to be always near zero voltage. Otherwise the output is in state o saturation. For
instance we have an op amp with a gain o 1000. The ampli ier operates with supply voltage
15V. Sometimes it can be 12V or 18V or something in between. t will never give output
voltage bigger than the supply voltage, i.e. 15V. t means that the input signal 15mV
(15V/1000) or bigger will saturate the output. This particular ampli ier gives the output
proportional to the input (proportionality actor is 1000) only or input signals rom the interval
(-15mV,+15mV).
This diode limiter is o ten used as input protection or high-gain ampli iers.
 
3 

    

The irst use or the diode was the demodulation o amplitude modulated (AM) radio broadcasts.
The history o this discovery is treated in depth in the radio article. n summary, an AM signal
consists o alternating positive and negative peaks o voltage, whose amplitude or ³envelope´ is
proportional to the original audio signal. The diode (originally a crystal diode) recti ies the AM
radio requency signal, leaving an audio signal which is the original audio signal, minus
atmospheric noise. The audio is extracted using a simple ilter and ed into an audio ampli ier or
transducer, which generates sound waves.

    


  are constructed rom diodes, where they are used to convert alternating current (AC)
electricity into direct current (DC). Automotive alternators are a common example, where the
diode, which recti ies the AC into DC, provides better per ormance than the commutator o
earlier dynamo. Similarly, diodes are also used in ! ,  
5 
 

  to
convert AC into higher DC voltages.

    

Diodes are requently used to conduct damaging high voltages away rom sensitive electronic
devices. They are usually reverse-biased (non-conducting) under normal circumstances. When
the voltage rises above the normal range, the diodes become orward-biased (conducting). For
example, diodes are used in (stepper motor and H-bridge) motor controller and relay circuits to
de-energize coils rapidly without the damaging voltage spikes that would otherwise occur. (Any
diode used in such an application is called a lyback diode). Many integrated circuits also
incorporate diodes on the connection pins to prevent external voltages rom damaging their
sensitive transistors. Specialized diodes are used to protect rom over-voltages at higher power
(see Diode types above).

   

Diodes can be combined with other components to construct AND and OR logic gates. This is
re erred to as diode logic.

     

n addition to light, mentioned above, semiconductor diodes are sensitive to more energetic
radiation. n electronics, cosmic rays and other sources o ionizing radiation cause noise pulses
and single and multiple bit errors. This e ect is sometimes exploited by particle detectors to
detect radiation. A single particle o radiation, with thousands or millions o electron volts o
energy, generates many charge carrier pairs, as its energy is deposited in the semiconductor
material.  the depletion layer is large enough to catch the whole shower or to stop a heavy
particle, a airly accurate measurement o the particle¶s energy can be made, simply by
measuring the charge conducted and without the complexity o a magnetic spectrometer or etc.
These semiconductor radiation detectors need e icient and uni orm charge collection and low
leakage current. They are o ten cooled by liquid nitrogen. For longer range (about a centimetre)
particles they need a very large depletion depth and large area. For short range particles, they
need any contact or un-depleted semiconductor on at least one sur ace to be very thin. The back-
bias voltages are near breakdown (around a thousand volts per centimetre). Germanium and
silicon are common materials. Some o these detectors sense position as well as energy. They
have a inite li e, especially when detecting heavy particles, because o radiation damage. Silicon
and germanium are quite di erent in their ability to convert gamma rays to electron showers.

Semiconductor detectors or high energy particles are used in large numbers. Because o energy
loss luctuations, accurate measurement o the energy deposited is o less use.

       

A diode can be used as a temperature measuring device, since the orward voltage drop across
the diode depends on temperature, as in a Silicon bandgap temperature sensor. From the
Shockley ideal diode equation given above, it appears the voltage has a positive temperature
coe icient (at a constant current) but depends on doping concentration and operating
temperature (Sze 2007). The temperature coe icient can be negative as in typical thermistors or
positive or temperature sense diodes down to about 20 kelvins. Typically, silicon diodes have
approximately í2 mV/ÛC temperature coe icient at room temperature.

    

Diodes will prevent currents in unintended directions. To supply power to an electrical circuit
during a power ailure, the circuit can draw current rom a battery. An Uninterruptible power
supply may use diodes in this way to ensure that current is only drawn rom the battery when
necessary. Similarly, small boats typically have two circuits each with their own
battery/batteries: one used or engine starting; one used or domestics. Normally both are
charged rom a single alternator, and a heavy duty split charge diode is used to prevent the higher
charge battery (typically the engine battery) rom discharging through the lower charged battery
when the alternator is not running.

Diodes are also used in electronic musical keyboards. To reduce the amount o wiring needed in
electronic musical keyboards, these instruments o ten use keyboard matrix circuits. The
keyboard controller scans the rows and columns to determine which note the player has pressed.
The problem with matrix circuits is that when several notes are pressed at once, the current can
low backwards through the circuit and trigger "phantom keys" that cause ³ghost´ notes to play.
To avoid triggering unwanted notes, most keyboard matrix circuits have diodes soldered with the
switch under each key o the musical keyboard. The same principle is also used or the switch
matrix in solid state pinball machines.