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Centennial Campus, 1791 Varsity Dr. Get the latest tips, news, and developments. This domain name is for sale. A three-lead thyristor is designed to control the larger current of its two leads by combining that current with the smaller current of its other lead, known as its control lead. Other sources define thyristors as a larger set of devices with at least four layers of alternating N and P-type material. The first thyristor devices were released commercially in 1956. Thyristors may be used in power-switching circuits, relay-replacement circuits, inverter circuits, oscillator circuits, level-detector circuits, chopper circuits, light-dimming circuits, low-cost timer circuits, logic circuits, speed-control circuits, phase-control circuits, etc.

In other words, a thyristor can only be fully on or off, while a transistor can lie in between on and off states. This makes a thyristor unsuitable as an analog amplifier, but useful as a switch. The main terminals, labelled anode and cathode, are across all four layers. The control terminal, called the gate, is attached to p-type material near the cathode. A variant called an SCS—silicon controlled switch—brings all four layers out to terminals. Structure on the physical and electronic level, and the thyristor symbol.