Prior to the use of silicon semiconductor rectifiers, there were metal rectifiers based on copper oxide and selenium, as well as vacuum tube thermoelectronic diodes. However, with the rise of semiconductor electronic technology, the elimination of vacuum tube rectifier is inevitable. Fast forward to the present, various types of semiconductor diodes are used for rectification from very low current to very high current applications.
When simple rectification is not enough, other devices will be used in the case of variable output voltage. Of course, these other devices can also control the electrodes and provide a one-way current. In addition, these types of high-power rectifiers are used in high-voltage DC power transmission, and they combine various types of silicon semiconductor devices.
Typically, these types of rectifiers are called thyristors. These and other controlled switches solid state switches effectively act as diodes, passing current in only one direction.
In general, rectifier circuits can be multiphase or single-phase, but most low-power rectifiers used in household equipment are single-phase. Similarly, three - phase rectifier is essential in industrial applications and HVDC transmission.