Selenium Rectifier - Construction


Selenium rectifiers are made from stacks of aluminum or steel plates coated with about 1 μm of bismuth or nickel. A much thicker layer of selenium (50 to 60 μm) which has been doped with a halogen is deposited on top of the thin metal plating. The selenium is then converted into polycrystalline gray (hexagonal) form by annealing. Each plate is able to withstand about 20 volts in the reverse direction. The metal squares, or disks, also serve as heat sinks in addition to providing a mounting place for the selenium disks. Plates can be stacked indefinitely to withstand higher voltages. Stacks of thousands of miniature selenium disks have been used as high voltage rectifiers in television sets and photocopy machines.

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