Historical1stthyristor SCR developed in 1957Since 1970, various type of power electronic devices were developed and become commercially available.
Power semiconductor DevicesClassificationClassification by materials (carrier type)
The two-terminal devices (diodes), whose state is completely dependent on the external power circuit they are connected to;The three-terminal devices, whose state is not only dependent on their external power circuit, but also on the signal on their driving terminal (gate or base). Transistors and thyristors belong to that category.A second classification is less obvious, but has a strong influence on device performance: Some devices aremajority carrier devices(Schottky diode, MOSFET), while the others areminority carrier devices(Thyristor, bipolar transistor, IGBT). The former use only one type of charge carriers, while the latter use both (i.e electrons and holes). The majority carrier devices are faster, but the charge injection of minority carrier devices allows for better On-state performance
Common power devicesSome common power devices are the power diode, thyristor, power MOSFET and IGBT. A power diode or MOSFET operates on similar principles to its low-power counterpart, but is able to carry a larger amount of current and typically is able to support a larger reverse-bias voltage in the off-state.