Transient voltage suppressor diodes, more commonly known as TVS diodes, are used to protect integrated circuits (ICs). TVS diodes protect semiconductors and sensitive components against high transient voltage spikes (overvoltage) and the effects of arcs, EFT, ESD, inductive load switching, and even lightning strikes. RS Components offer an extensive range of TVS diodes from a multitude of brands across the industry, including Bourns, Littelfuse, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Taiwan Semiconductor, Vishay, and more.
TVS diodes are offered in both through-hole and surface mount packages and can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Unidirectional TVS diodes will only allow positive or negative voltage, whereas bidirectional diodes can operate at both positive and negative voltages. TVS diodes are able to conduct large currents to the ground due to their construction. They feature a much larger p-n junction cross-sectional area than standard diodes. You can learn more in our TVS diodes guide.
Transient voltage suppressors respond incredibly quickly to overvoltage events, clamping transient voltages almost immediately. This enables them to protect circuits from the effects of arcing, inductive load switching, EFT (electrical fast transients), the ESD (electrostatic discharge) created by data lines and electronic circuits, and even lightning strikes.
There are a number of differentiators when choosing a TVS diode, but two key factors to consider are reverse standoff voltage and breakdown voltage. Reverse standoff voltage is the operating voltage that the data or power line should not exceed. Breakdown voltage is the voltage rating at which the TVS diode will provide protection and start conducting current to the ground. This voltage value is normally a little higher than the reverse standoff voltage.