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Impact ionization

Impact ionization is the process in a material by which one energetic charge carrier can lose energy by the creation of other charge carriers. If this occurs in a region of high electrical field then it can result in avalanche breakdown, this process is exploited in avalanche type devices to provide gain.

Additional recommended knowledge

Charge carriers are typically electrons, but in a semiconductor they could also be holes. This is the process occurring in avalanche diodes, by which a small optical signal is amplified before entering an external electronic circuit. In an avalanche photodiode the original charge carrier is created by the absorption of a photon.

In some senses, it is the reverse process to Auger recombination.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Impact_ionization". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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