How are Silicon diodes different from Germanium diodes?

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Editorial Team - everything PE

Apr 26, 2023

Silicon diodes and germanium diodes are two-terminal power diodes that conduct current only in one direction. However, there are some key differences between these two types of diodes. Silicon has a higher bandgap energy than germanium, which means that silicon diodes can withstand higher temperatures and have better-switching characteristics than germanium diodes.

Another difference is that silicon diodes have a higher forward voltage drop than germanium diodes, which means that they require a higher voltage to turn on and conduct current. This can make silicon diodes less suitable for low-voltage applications.

Finally, silicon diodes have a lower reverse leakage current than germanium diodes, which means that they are better at blocking current in the reverse direction. This makes silicon diodes more suitable for applications that require high reverse voltage blocking capabilities, such as power supplies and voltage regulators.


Silicon Diode

Germanium Diode


Silicon Semiconductor Material

Germanium Semiconductor Material

Forward Voltage Drop

Higher forward voltage drop (0.6-0.7V)

Lower forward voltage drop (0.2-0.3V)

Maximum Operating Temperature

Higher maximum operating temperature (up to 150°C)

Lower maximum operating temperature (up to 75°C)

Reverse Current

Lower reverse current

Higher reverse current

Reverse Breakdown Voltage

Higher reverse breakdown voltage

Lower reverse breakdown voltage

Switching Speed

Slower switching speed

Faster switching speed

Sensitivity to Temperature Changes

Lower sensitivity to temperature changes

Higher sensitivity to temperature changes

Noise Level

Lower noise level

Higher noise level

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