A diode is a two-terminal electronic component with an asymmetric transfer characteristic, with low resistance to current flow in one direction, and high resistance in the other. A diode vacuum tube or thermionic diode is a vacuum tube with two electrodes, a heated cathode, and a plate, in which electrons can flow in only one direction from the hot cathode to the plate.

Diodes are used as rectifiers, signal limiters, voltage regulators, and switches. The simplest form of the diode is made up of semiconductor material like silicon arranged into two regions. One region has excess electrons while the other has vacancies for them called “holes.” When placed together they form what’s known as a ((Positive) P-N) junction.

When there’s no voltage applied across the terminals of a P-N junction diode there will be very little current through it because there’s nothing to push charge carriers across the gap between N-type and P-type materials. However, when you forward bias a P-N junction by applying a positive voltage to the “P” side with respect to the n side, the holes are pulled towards the “P” side while free electrons are pushed towards the “N” side.

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