Semiconductors - Discretes
Built as a single unit, discrete semiconductors are devices capable of carrying out only a basic function. For example, transistors are limited to performing only the functions that are associated with them; not like integrated circuits, which are made up of several components and can, therefore, bring together and perform several tasks.
Although they have different characteristics, integrated circuits and discrete semiconductors are found in practically all electronic products. They are commonly used for products that need significant current volume, like amplifiers. They can also function as switches and power regulators.
Types of Discrete Semiconductors
There are many varieties of discrete semiconductors, and some of the most common ones are:
- Bipolar transistors – are devices that have positive and negative charges and are often integrated into analog circuits.
- Digital transistors have two operation modes: cut off (fully off) and saturation (fully on or conducting).
- Bridge rectifiers have a configuration similar to a bridge, which explains its name. Their basic function is to change AC to DC.
- PIN diodes – ideal for fast-switching and high-voltage applications. They are equipped with a pure, intrinsic, or undoped semiconductor between its n-type and p-type layers.
- Emitter-Switched Bipolar Transistors – high-speed transistors that obstruct high voltages. These discrete devices have two transistors.
- Double Triode Valves – are vacuum tubes designed for amplification. The diodes are used as rectifiers and detectors.
- HEMT Transistors – are applied to devices that require high speed data transfer (such as radar equipment and mobile phones).
- Darlington Transistors, like Emitter-Switched Bipolar Transistors, are two transistors in one. One transistor sticks to a specific amplification level while the other one increases.
- DIAC (diodes for alternating current) – are electronic components that function as bidirectional semiconductor switches. They are used to trigger TRIACs (triodes for alternating current) and thyristors.