Dr. Ahmed G. Abo-Khalil

Electrical Engineering Department


A silicon-controlled rectifier (or semiconductor-controlled rectifier) is a four-layer solid state device that controls current. The name "silicon controlled rectifier" or SCR is General Electric's trade name for a type of thyristor. The SCR was developed by a team of power engineers led by Gordon Hall and commercialized by Frank W. "Bill" Gutzwiller in 1957.

Modes operation

This device is generally used in switching applications. In the normal "off" state, the device restricts current to the leakage current. When the gate-to-cathode voltage exceeds a certain threshold, the device turns "on" and conducts current. The device will remain in the "on" state even after gate current is removed so long as current through the device remains above the holding current. Once current falls below the holding current for an appropriate period of time, the device will switch "off". If the gate is pulsed and the current through the device is below the holding current, the device will remain in the "off" state.

If the applied voltage increases rapidly enough, capacitive coupling may induce enough charge into the gate to trigger the device into the "on" state; this is referred to as "dv/dt triggering." This is usually prevented by limiting the rate of voltage rise across the device, perhaps by using a snubber. "dv/dt triggering" may not switch the SCR into full conduction rapidly, and the partially triggered SCR may dissipate more power than is usual, possibly harming the device.

SCRs can also be triggered by increasing the forward voltage beyond their rated breakdown voltage (also called as break over voltage), but again, this does not rapidly switch the entire device into conduction and so may be harmful so this mode of operation is also usually avoided. Also, the actual breakdown voltage may be substantially higher than the rated breakdown voltage, so the exact trigger point will vary from device to device.UJT is commonly used to trigger SCR.

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