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Neon lamps have higher breakdown voltage than its operating voltage. When brokendown, it acts like a zener at its operating voltage.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/Doutnavka.svg/330px-Doutnavka.svg.png

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The only one that springs to mind is a Neon lamp. \$\endgroup\$ – Majenko Feb 11 '15 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Gas lasers behave the same way, if I remember correctly, but well they are just improved neon lamps. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsenal Feb 11 '15 at 10:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ A thiristor is a typical current controlled negative resistance device (S shaped lambda diode) \$\endgroup\$ – GR Tech Feb 11 '15 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/… , en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Circuit_Idea/Negative_Resistance , en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Circuit_Idea/… . Gas ionization would have the current "S" characteristics, Arc welding, Lightning, Florescent lights, Spark gap, etc. Gas discharge limits frequency response. Emulating "S" curve with a circuit can overcome that. \$\endgroup\$ – Optionparty Feb 11 '15 at 17:43
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How about a diac or sidac diode? They have somewhat similar curves but in different ranges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIAC

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I suppose you might consider a unijunction transistor.

enter image description here

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