Open main menu

The Shockley diode (named after physicist William Shockley) is a four-layer semiconductor diode, which was one of the first semiconductor devices invented. It was a "pnpn" diode. It is equivalent to a thyristor with a disconnected gate. Shockley Diodes were manufactured and marketed by Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in the late 1950s.[1]

Shockley diode
InventedWilliam Shockley
Pin configurationAnode and Cathode
Electronic symbol
Shockley diode schematic symbol
A sculpture representing a Shockley 4-layer diode, on the sidewalk in front of the new building at 391 San Antonio Rd., Mountain View, California, which was the original site of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories where the first silicon device work in Silicon Valley was done



Common applications:

Niche applications:

Typical valuesEdit

V–I diagram
Description Range[4] Typically
Forward operation
Switching voltage Vs 10 V to 250 V 50 V ± 4 V
Holding voltage Vh 0.5 V to 2 V 0.8 V
Switching current Is a few µA to some mA 120 µA
Hold current IH 1 to 50 mA 14 to 45 mA
Reverse operation
Reverse current IR 15 µA
Reverse breakdown voltage Vrb 10 V to 250 V 60 V



Small-signal Shockley diodes are no longer manufactured, but the unidirectional thyristor breakover diode, also known as the dynistor, is a functionally equivalent power device. An early publication about dynistors was published in 1958.[5] In 1988 the first dynistor using silicon carbide was made.[6] Dynistors can be used as switches in micro- and nanosecond power pulse generators.[7]


  • Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson; Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age. New York: Norton (1997) ISBN 0-393-31851-6 pbk.
  1. ^ "Transistor Museum Photo Gallery Shockley Diode 4 LayerTransistor". Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  2. ^ "Transistor Museum Photo Gallery Shockley Diode Transistor 4 Layer". Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  3. ^ "Just Diodes In Hi-Fi Amplifier". 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  4. ^ Willfried Schurig (1971), amateurreihe electronica: Kennlinien elektronischer Bauelemente. Teil II: Halbleiter Dioden (in German), Berlin: Deutscher Militärverlag, p. 119
  5. ^ Pittman, P. (Spring 1958). "The application of the dynistor diode to off-on controllers". 1958 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference. Digest of Technical Papers. I: 55–56. doi:10.1109/ISSCC.1958.1155602.
  6. ^ Chelnokov, V. E.; Vainshtein, S. N.; Levinshtein, M. E.; Dmitriev, V. A. (1988-08-04). "First SiC dynistor". Electronics Letters. 24 (16): 1031–1033. doi:10.1049/el:19880702. ISSN 1350-911X.
  7. ^ Aristov, Yu.V.; Grekhov, I.V.; Korotkov, S.V.; Lyublinsky, A.G. (September 22–26, 2008). "Dynistor Switches for Micro- and Nanosecond Power Pulse Generators". Acta Physica Polonica A. Proceedings of the 2nd Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 22–26, 2008. 115 (6): 1031–1033. doi:10.12693/APhysPolA.115.1031.

External linksEdit