|semiconductor diode |
A diode made of semiconductor components, usually silicon. The cathode, which is negatively charged and has an excess of electrons, is placed adjacent to the anode, which has an inherently positive charge, carrying an excess of holes. At this junction a depletion region forms, with neither holes nor electrons. A positive voltage at the anode makes the depletion region small, and current flows; a negative voltage at the anode makes the depletion region large, preventing current flow.