In this article we will discuss about the various types of thyristors. Thyristors are 2 pin to 4 pin semiconductor devices that act like switches. For example a 2 pin thyristor only conducts when the voltage across its pins exceeds the breakdown voltage of the device. For a 3 pin thyristor the current path is controlled by the third pin and when a voltage or current is applied to this pin the thyristor conducts. In contrast to trasistors, thyristors only work on ON and OFF states and there is no partial conduction state between these two states. Basic types of thyristors are: SCR, SCS, Triac, Four-layer diode and Diac.
Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR)
Silicon controlled rectifier is normally in OFF state but when a small current enters its gate G it goes to ON state. If the gate current is removed the SCR remains in ON state and to turn it of the anode to cathode current must be removed or the anode must be set to a negative voltage in relation to cathode. The current only flows in one direction from anode to cathode. SCRs are used in switching circuits, phase control circuits, inverting circuits etc.
Silicon Controlled Switch (SCS)
Working of SCS is similar to SCR but also it can be turned off by applying a positive pulse on the anode gate. The SCS can also turned ON by applying a negative pulse on anode gate. The current flows only from anode to cathode. SCS are used in counters, lamp drivers, logic circuits etc.
Triac is similar to SCR but it conducts in both directions, means that it can switch AC and DC currents. The triac remain in ON state only when there is current in gate G and switched OFF when this current is removed. Current is flowing in both directions between MT1 and MT2.
Four Layer Diode
Four layer diode has 2 pins and works like a voltage-sensitive switch. When the voltage between the two pins exceeds the breakdown voltage it turns ON, otherwise it’s OFF. Current flows from anode to cathode.
Read More: Basic Types of Thyristors and Applications