TVS Diodes

Transient voltage suppressor diodes, more commonly known as TVS diodes, are used to protect integrated circuits (ICs). TVS diodes protect semiconductors and sensitive components against high transient voltage spikes (overvoltage).


TVS diodes are offered in both through hole and surface mount packages. They can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Unidirectional TVS diodes will only allow positive or negative voltage whereas bidirectional diodes can operate at both positive and negative voltages.


TVS diodes are able to conduct large currents to the ground due to their construction. They feature a much larger p-n junction cross-sectional area than standard diodes.



What are the benefits of using transient voltage suppressor diodes?


TVS diodes respond incredibly quickly to overvoltage events, clamping transient voltages almost immediately. This enables them to protect circuits from the effects of arcing, inductive load switching, lightning strikes, EFT (electrical fast transients) and the ESD (electrostatic discharge) created by data lines and electronic circuits.


What do I need to consider when choosing a TVS diode?


There are a number of differentiators when choosing a TVS diode, but two key factors to consider are reverse standoff voltage and breakdown voltage.


  • Reverse standoff voltage - This is the operating voltage that the data or power line should not exceed.

  • Breakdown voltage - This is the voltage rating at which the TVS diode will provide protection and start conducting current to the ground. This voltage value is normally a little high than the reverse standoff voltage

Applications:


TVS diodes have numerous applications but are well suited to protect


  • microprocessors

  • MOS memory

  • AC power lines

  • Telecommunication equipment

  • Consumer electronics

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