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Step recovery diodes produce an abrupt turn-off (step) time by allowing a very fast release of stored charge when switching from forward to reverse bias, and from reverse to forward bias. Single step recovery diodes consist of one diode built into the chip. Step recovery diode arrays are composed of multiple, discrete, usually unconnected diodes on a single silicon chip. Performance specifications for step recovery diodes include forward voltage, maximum allowable reverse voltage, reverse current, breakdown voltage, reverse recovery time, power dissipation, terminal capacitance, and operating temperature. Pin count and the number of embedded diodes are factors to consider when selecting an integrated circuit (IC) package. Step-recovery diodes that are sold in Europe must comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive from the European Union (EU).   

Selecting Step Recovery Diodes

Diode application is an important parameter when selecting step recovery diodes. Rectifier diodes are electronic devices that allows current to flow in only one direction. Limiter diodes can be used as voltage limiters or in voltage limiter circuits. Switching diodes are designed for high-speed switching applications. Modulation diodes can be used in either AM or FM modulators. Amplification diodes are designed for amplifier circuits. By contrast, voltage regulation diodes are designed for voltage regulation circuits. Damper diodes are used in television sets and low leakage diodes are used in low leakage applications. Mixer diodes are also commonly available. Protector diodes are used to protect electronic components from unwanted transients such as current and voltage surges, electrostatic discharge (ESD), lightning, spikes and other signals that can imperil the operation or damage the component. Other types of step-recovery diodes are also available.  

IC Package Types

Step recovery diodes use many different IC package types. Choices include: diode outline (DO), small outline diode (SOD), transistor outline (TO), small outline transistor (SOT) discrete package (DPAK), and metal electrode leadless face (MELF). Many different types of DO, SOD, TO, and SOT packages are available. MELF packages for step-recovery diodes include: QuadroMELF, MicroMELF, and MiniMELF. D2PAK is a large surface-mounted package that includes a heat sink. SC-59, SC-74, and SC-76 are plastic, surface-mounted packages with three leads. Powermite®3 is a compact, high power density surface mount rectifier package that offers low thermal resistance. Powermite®3 is a registered trademark of Diodes, Inc. 


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