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A switching diode is a diode that has been optimised for high speed switching applications.
Switching diodes have shorter than average reverse recovery times. This means that when the input transitions from forward to reverse biased, they begin to block current more quickly than a standard rectifier diode.
There is also a forward recovery voltage. As the diode input transitions from reverse to forward biased, it spikes up to a much higher forward biased voltage drop, then slowly drops down to the standard forward voltage rating.
These are both functions of practical diodes. An ideal diode will block current instantly once it has been reverse biased, or be at its rated forward voltage instantly when forward biased. In low speed applications these are usually not considered significant. However, in high speed applications these factors can be problematicswitching diodes exist to reduce these as much as possible.
Switching diodes can also be used in place of general purpose diodes, so long as the other relevant parameters match.