Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A thyratron is a type of gas filled tube used as a high energy electrical switch and controlled rectifier. Triode, tetrode and pentode variations of the thyratron have been manufactured in the past, though most are of the triode design. Because of the gas fill, thyratrons can handle much greater currents than similar hard vacuum valves/tubes since the positive ions carry considerable current. Gases used include mercury vapor, xenon, neon, and (in special high-voltage applications or applications requiring very short switching times) hydrogen. Unlike a vacuum tube, a thyratron cannot be used to amplify signals linearly.
A solid-state device with similar operating characteristics is the silicon controlled rectifier (SCR).