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The above general rule notwithstanding, if the cathode voltage is positive

relative to the anode voltage by a great enough amount, the diode will
conduct current. The voltage required to produce this phenomenon,
known as the avalanche voltage, varies greatly depending on the nature
of the semiconductor material from which the device is fabricated. The
avalanche voltage can range from a few volts up to several hundred volts.
When an analog signal passes through a diode operating at or near its
forward breakover point, the signal waveform is distorted.
This nonlinearity allows for modulation, demodulation, and signal mixing.
In addition, signals are generated at harmonics, or integral multiples of
the input frequency. Some diodes also have a characteristic that is
imprecisely termed negative resistance. Diodes of this type, with the
application of a voltage at the correct level and the polarity, generate
analog signals at microwave radio frequencies.
Semiconductor diodes can be designed to produce direct current (DC)
when visible light,infrared transmission (IR), or ultraviolet (UV) energy
strikes them. These diodes are known as photovoltaic cells and are the
basis for solar electric energy systems and photosensors. Yet another form
of diode, commonly used in electronic and computer equipment, emits
visible light or IR energy when current passes through it. Such a device is
the familiar light-emitting diode (LED).