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ignitron

[ig-nahy-tron, ig-ni-tron] /ɪgˈnaɪ trɒn, ˈɪg nɪ trɒn/
noun, Electronics.
1.
a cathode-arc vacuum tube with an auxiliary electrode projecting into a pool of mercury: it conducts current when the anode is positive.
Origin
1930-1935
1930-35; igni(ter) + -tron
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ignitron

ignitron

/ɪɡˈnaɪtrɒn; ˈɪɡnɪˌtrɒn/
noun
1.
a mercury-arc rectifier controlled by a subsidiary electrode, the igniter, partially immersed in a mercury cathode. A current passed between igniter and cathode forms a hot spot sufficient to strike an arc between cathode and anode
Word Origin
C20: from igniter + electron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for ignitron

electronelectron tube functioning as a rectifier to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). Each conduction cycle is started by an external voltage applied to the igniter, a small electrode touching the tube's cathode, which is a pool of mercury. Electrons released by the igniter from the surface of the mercury initiate a conducting arc through the tube. The arc lasts until voltage on the ignitron's plate has been reduced to the point that the arc can no longer be sustained

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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