I'm working on preparing a course about power electronics, and with my basic search conclusions. I thought that if it's possible or acceptable to classify the power electronics components in 2 main groups.

Group1: Controlled/Uncontrolled rectifiers

Includes: Power Diode, Thyristor, GTO, TRIAC and DIAC.

Group2: Power Transistors

Includes: BJTs, MOSFETs and IGBTs.

My questions, is my dividing power electronics components in 2 main groups, acceptable; as:

  1. Controlled/Uncontrolled rectifiers
  2. Power Transistors

Also, I don't want to add more components, because I want to keep it simple and just studying the basic and most important things.

Any ideas?

  • \$\begingroup\$ you should probably consider zener diodes for inclusion in the first group, \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasen
    Sep 25 '19 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, that would ok, but I actually want not to increase the number of components to cover. Beside they took zener diode in a previous course. \$\endgroup\$
    – R1S8K
    Sep 25 '19 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems to assume that power semiconductor devices are the only kind of power components. Do you have transformers, motors, generators, etc., categorized outside the area of "electronics"? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Sep 25 '19 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh yeah sorry no I don't mean to take out all of the power electronics out of the scope, it just the course content is only about these devices, they are even the basic ones, after doing some search it turns out that there are a lot of semiconductor devices that come from basic components; but I don't have time to go through them and I'm not qualified to discuss a deep stuff in electronics engineering. Also I work are in diploma program, most courses discuss the basic things of any aspect in electronics. \$\endgroup\$
    – R1S8K
    Sep 28 '19 at 9:26

It depends why you want to break them into groups.

If you simply want to partition the course into more easily managed teaching sections, then an alphabetic grouping is just as rational. Put all the power devices into alphabetic order, and split them into two.

If you want to group them by the way they're used, then the groups you've chosen aren't too bad. The second group covers quite a range of technologies, and the first controlled and uncontrolled behaviours, but if you want to reduce the number of groups, that's what you end up with.

If you want to group things with similar underlying physics, then your groups are not suitable. For instance, the progression one junction diode, two junction BJT, three junction SCR is quite natural. The different method of operation between a BJT and a FET is very significant.

If you want groups that are meaningful on both behaviour and underlying technology, then you're going to need a bigger set.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, well thank you for the answer. Yes, it really depends on what I want. You mentioned different aspects of why I want to group them, I even not sure if grouping is logical, I'm thinking of why I don't just list them numerically without any order. Just start with the power diode and end with the IGBT. But I actually don't know what is the best, yet an easy why to express these devices either the whole without any grouping, or at least group them in two groups as a group contain power transistors and a group contain the diode and its counterparts. What you think? \$\endgroup\$
    – R1S8K
    Sep 25 '19 at 7:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think two groups is too restrictive. Although Triacs and Diacs look like two SCRs back to back, and SCRs get called 'controlled rectifiers', triacs and diacs are used as switches. I'd be inclined to split them into junction controlled devices like diodes, triacs and BJTs, and field effect devices like FETs. But then my reasons aren't necessarily your reasons. I'd be wary of 'premature grouping', especially if you're organising a course. You'll always need to be defending your arbitrary demarcation lines. Better to embrace the variety and have a matrix with use and technology as the axes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neil_UK
    Sep 25 '19 at 9:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The aspects you mentioned, deal with: 1. alphabetic order --> it's not necessary, because to me it doesn't matter if it's alphabetic order or just starting with diode and end with mosfet. 2. group them by the way they're used --> yeah I think this is more like is the distinguish with the use of diode vs transistors .. yeah I think that's what I want. 3. underlying physics no, I'm not really qualified/interested to discuss the course from the physics/structure/engineering aspects. Because it's a diploma course and not an engineering program ... thank you so much for helping me out \$\endgroup\$
    – R1S8K
    Sep 25 '19 at 12:22

Well, according to @Neil_UK answer, I think I have a little bit freedom in the way to present information in an academic level. So I think that could considered as a free space for trainers/teachers and university professionals to present the information required in the course the way they want but taking into consideration the main rules that the topic is about.

So, I guess I liked the way I classified the power devices in the course in two groups and as it considered to be reasonable.

Then, I decided to go with 2 groups.

Group1: Deals with rectifiers and diodes, which are: thyristor, GPO, TRAIC & DIAC.

Group2: Deals with power transistors, those are: BJTs, MOSFETs & IGBTs.

Thanks all for the help :)


I found this Wikipedia page that really put some formal information about the classification of power electronics devices.


A power device may be classified as one of the following main categories (see figure 1):

  1. A two-terminal device (e.g., a diode), whose state is completely dependent on the external power circuit to which it is connected.

  2. A three-terminal device (e.g., a triode), whose state is dependent on not only its external power circuit, but also the signal on its driving terminal (this terminal is known as the gate or base).

  3. A four terminal device (e.g. Silicon Controlled Switch -SCS). SCS is a type of thyristor having four layers and four terminals called anode, anode gate, cathode gate and cathode. the terminals are connected to the first, second, third and fourth layer respectively.[17]

Another classification is less obvious, but has a strong influence on device performance:

  1. A majority carrier device (e.g., a Schottky diode, a MOSFET, etc.); this uses only one type of charge carriers.
  2. A minority carrier device (e.g., a thyristor, a bipolar transistor, an IGBT, etc.); this uses both majority and minority carriers (i.e., electrons and electron holes).

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