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A TRIAC and a thyristor are both semiconductor devices used in controlling electrical power, but they have key differences.

Let's start with the thyristor. A thyristor is a semiconductor device that acts as a switch, conducting current only in one direction once it's triggered. It consists of four layers of alternating P-type and N-type materials. When a small current flows into its gate terminal, it triggers the thyristor into conduction, allowing a larger current to flow from the anode to the cathode until the current drops below a certain threshold or is reversed.

Now, a TRIAC, on the other hand, is also a semiconductor device, but it can conduct current in both directions. It's essentially two thyristors connected in inverse parallel with a common gate terminal. This allows the TRIAC to control AC current more effectively by triggering it with a small current pulse applied to its gate. Once triggered, it conducts current in both directions until the current drops below a certain level.

In summary, while both the thyristor and TRIAC are used for switching AC loads, the key difference lies in the TRIAC's ability to control current in both directions, making it suitable for AC applications where the current periodically reverses. Thyristors, on the other hand, are primarily used for controlling DC or rectified AC currents where conduction needs to be unidirectional.
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