Zener diodes are a type of semiconductor device designed to operate in a reverse-breakdown mode, meaning they are designed to function when a specific voltage is reached in the reverse direction. These diodes are characterized based on their behavior when used in this fashion and are commonly utilized as voltage references or for voltage limiting purposes.
In addition to their primary function as voltage references, Zener diodes can also be used as one-way valves for current flow, although their performance in this capacity is generally less ideal than that of specialized rectifier diodes. Despite this, Zener diodes can still serve as effective current flow regulators in certain circuits.
Each device package within the Zener diode family implements exactly one instance of this function, making them useful for a wide range of electronic circuit applications. With their unique reverse-breakdown mode of operation and versatile characteristics, Zener diodes are a valuable component in many electronic devices.
In summary, Zener diodes are designed to function in a reverse-breakdown mode and are characterized based on this behavior. They are commonly used as voltage references or for voltage limiting purposes and can also function as current flow regulators. Each device package contains exactly one instance of this function, making Zener diodes versatile components for a variety of electronic circuit applications.