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Tech Talk

Tantalum Capacitors - What are They?

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A tantalum electrolytic capacitor is an electrolytic capacitor, a passive component of electronic circuits. It consists of a pellet of tantalum metal as an anode, covered by an insulating oxide layer that forms the dielectric, surrounded by liquid or solid electrolyte as a cathode. Because of its very thin and relatively high permittivitydielectric layer, the tantalum capacitor distinguishes itself from other conventional and electrolytic capacitors in having high capacitance per volume (high volumetric efficiency) and lower weight.

Tantalum is a conflict mineral. Tantalum electrolytic capacitors are considerably more expensive than comparable aluminum electrolytic capacitors.

Tantalum capacitors are inherently polarized components. Reverse voltage can destroy the capacitor. Non-polar or bipolar tantalum capacitors are made by effectively connecting two polarized capacitors in series, with the anodes oriented in opposite directions.

Source: Wikipedia