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terminal through which electric current passes between metallic and nonmetallic parts of an electric circuit. In most familiar circuits current is carried by metallic conductors, but in some circuits the current passes for some distance through a nonmetallic conductor.
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 through which current leaves an electric device. In electrolysiselectrolysis
, passage of an electric current through a conducting solution or molten salt that is decomposed in the process. The Electrolytic Process

The electrolytic process requires that an electrolyte, an ionized solution or molten metallic salt, complete an
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, it is the negative electrode in the electrolytic cell.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) In an electron tube or a gas-discharge tube, the electrode that is the source of electrons that ensure the conductivity of interelectrode space in a vacuum or maintain the steadiness of the passage of an electric current through the gas. Depending on the mechanism of emission of electrons, there exist thermionic cathodes, photocathodes, and cold cathodes.

(2) The negatively charged electrode (pole) of a source of current (galvanic cell, storage battery).

(3) The electrode of an electrolytic cell, an electric arc, and other similar devices that are connected to the negative pole of a source of current.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The terminal at which current leaves a primary cell or storage battery; it is negative with respect to the device, and positive with respect to the external circuit.
The primary source of electrons in an electron tube; in directly heated tubes the filament is the cathode, and in indirectly heated tubes a coated metal cathode surrounds a heater. Designated K. Also known as negative electrode.
The terminal of a semiconductor diode that is negative with respect to the other terminal when the diode is biased in the forward direction.
(physical chemistry)
The electrode at which reduction takes place in an electrochemical cell, that is, a cell through which electrons are being forced.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the negative electrode in an electrolytic cell; the electrode by which electrons enter a device from an external circuit
2. the negatively charged electron source in an electronic valve
3. the positive terminal of a primary cell
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A terminal on an electrical device that has a negative charge. Current flows from the cathode to the positively charged anode; however, the electrons actually flow from the anode to the cathode. Derived from Greek, cathode and anode mean "down" and "up" respectively. See electrode, cold cathode and OLED layers.

Cathode Emitters
In vacuum tubes, the cathodes are the emitters, and the anodes are the collectors.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Quite recently, there has been a substantial surge in the demand for lithium-ion battery cathode materials, primarily from the rapidly advancing economies like China, India and Mexico.
"We made new cathodes from the regenerated particles and then tested them in batteries built in the lab.
Caption: Figure 2: Schematic illustration of stepwise procedure of hematin modified BOx on gas diffusion layer cathode.
In Figure 6, the cathode elements have been removed from the graph to better illustrate the behavior of the Sm and Ce concentrations.
The electrochemical properties of the cathode material are also influenced by the micromorphology of the precursor.
The spray-coated GDE1 performs quite well in the low-medium CD range when it is used as an anode (Figures 4(a) and 4(c)), while it does not at the cathode side.
Haile, "A high-performance cathode for the next generation of solid-oxide fuel cells," Nature, vol.
Figure 3 shows electronic pulses curve from pulsed field emission of CNT cathodes irradiated by laser pulses, on the same working condition of laser pulses except different applied voltage of 100 V, 400 V, 700 V, and 1000 V, respectively, contrasting to the insert of emission current density of cathodes without laser illumination by field emission without laser illumination.
Hence, the author reports preparation of technique of the cathode materials and applications of response surface optimization technique and analyze factorial design.
The voltage of cathode materials is significantly influenced by the coordination of elements such as iron and oxygen in the crystal.
It consists of the furnace, the outer STS crucible, the inner STS crucible, the top flange, and the electrodes (containing the cathode and the anode).
For LIB with LiCo[O.sub.2] cathode, in the charge process, the [Li.sup.+] intercalated in the LiCo[O.sub.2] structure is forced out by an external applied potential in direction of a carbonaceous matrix (see (4)) [1].