General Electric Device That Revolutionized Electrical Machines Is Now an IEEE Milestone

The silicon-controlled rectifier, or thyristor, can be found in flash bulbs, motors and manufacturing equipment

3 min read
Demonstration of prototype SCR in 1957
Photo: Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium

Two C501\u2019s, a type of silicon-controlled rectifier, in parallel mounted in a G-7 heat exchangerTwo C501’s, a type of silicon-controlled rectifier, in parallel mounted in a G-7 heat exchangerPhoto: GE

THE INSTITUTEMore than 60 years after General Electric introduced the silicon-controlled rectifier, it is still a dominant control device in the power industry because of its efficiency. The SCR, also known as the thyristor, is a three-terminal p-n-p-n device that has an anode, a cathode, and a gate. It was introduced in 1957 and developed at a GE facility in Clyde, N.Y.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

The State of the Transistor in 3 Charts

In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird

3 min read
A photo of 3 different transistors.
iStockphoto
LightGreen

The most obvious change in transistor technology in the last 75 years has been just how many we can make. Reducing the size of the device has been a titanic effort and a fantastically successful one, as these charts show. But size isn’t the only feature engineers have been improving.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}