When the pn junction diode is reverse-biased, then current doesnot flow.
However when the reverse voltage exceeds a certain value, the junction breaks down and current flows with only slight increase of voltage. This breakdown is caused by avalanche multiplication of electrons and holes in the space charge region of the junction.
The pn junction in the avalanche breakdown condition exhibitsnegative resistance characteristics in the microwave frequencyrange.
Since the negative resistance is based upon avalanchemultiplication and transit-time effect of carriers, the device has beencalled the IMPATT (Impact Avalanche Transit-Time) Diode.