# Basic electronics question about polarity [duplicate]

If the anode releases electrons and the cathode gains electrons, in the diagram below does the electron current flow from left to right?

Or is it the flow of positive charges from left to right?

• Tech, there's a lot more to learn about. In chemistry, when the battery is providing power to a circuit its anode provides the electrons and its cathode accepts them. In a way, this is because of what's going on in the electrolyte during that time. (Look up redox reactions.) So the battery's anode is the negative terminal and you'd want to hook up the diode's cathode to the battery's anode (and visa versa) if you wanted active current in the diode. Just be aware that usage and context is important whenever you see anode or cathode written down.
– jonk
Dec 27, 2020 at 3:27

If the anode releases electrons and the cathode gains electrons,

In a "forward biased" diode, the cathode is the more negative electrode and the anode the more positive.

Or is it the flow of positive charges from left to right?

Yes, the convention in electronics is somewhat the reverse of that of the physicist. Although flow of electricity in a conductor is the flow of electrons, those in electronics refer to flow as going from positive to negative. (The electrons actually moving in the opposite direction).

• Okay so whenever i see a + and - in electronics, electrons actually move from - to + Dec 27, 2020 at 2:48
• Yes, the electrons move from - to +, but we "say" the current flows from + to -. At least usually. Dec 27, 2020 at 2:50
• @TechVisionary note that in conductors, the flow is electrons, and so the physical current flow is opposite to that of conventional current, but in other media, the charge carriers can be positively charged ions, or protons, so the physical current flow would be the same as conventional current Dec 27, 2020 at 2:56
• At school (many moons ago) we talked about ‘conventional current’ and ‘electron flow’ which were in opposite directions.
– Frog
Dec 27, 2020 at 2:57
• @TechVisionary, Current flows in complete circuits. So there is always one part of the circuit where current flows from + to - and another part of the circuit where current flows from - to + (typically in the power source for the circuit). Whichever way it is flowing, if the carriers in that part of the circuit are electrons, they are flowing in the opposite direction from the conventional current. Dec 27, 2020 at 4:50