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.
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.
There are a number of differentiators when choosing a TVS diode, but two key factors to consider are reverse standoff voltage and breakdown voltage.
TVS diodes have numerous applications but are well suited to protect