Point-contact diodes were notoriously unreliable. Often a point contact had to be readjusted by hand. However, also vacuum tube diodes had disadvantages. They consumed a lot of energy, generated heat and had a limited life span.
In the 1950s, the diode effect was also detected in interfaces of two semiconductors. With the industrial production of semiconductor crystals the semiconductor diode replaced point-contact diodes and vacuum tube diodes almost completely. Today, semiconductor diodes are manufactured in large quantities. They are inexpensive and very reliable.
The common semiconductor diodes are often referred to as rectifier diodes due to its predominant area of use. However, more materials are known to show the diode effect. More on that later.
In this first part you get to know the main characteristics of diodes in ten experiments.
The second part (Go on...)contains further experiments. They show where and how diodes are used.
Let's go...and have fun...