A silicon-controlled rectifier (or semiconductor-controlled rectifier) is a four-layer solid state current controlling device. The name "silicon controlled rectifier" or SCR is General Electric's trade name for a type of thyristor. The SCR was developed by a team of power engineers led by Robert N. Hall and commercialized by Frank W. "Bill" Gutzwiller in 1957. Some sources define silicon controlled rectifiers and thyristors as synonymous, other sources define silicon controlled rectifiers as a subset of a larger family of devices with at least four layers of alternating N and P-type material, this entire family being referred to as thyristors. SCRs are unidirectional devices (i.e. can conduct current only in one direction) as opposed to TRIACs which are bidirectional (i.e. current can flow through them in either direction). SCRs can be triggered normally only by currents going into the gate as opposed to TRIACs which can be triggered normally by either a positive or a negative current applied to its gate electrode.
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