History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

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Technical Details of Self-Restoring Coherer (Inv. Num. 96386)

While referred to as a coherer, its properties are closer to that of a semi-conductor rectifier, with an oxide film on the mercury providing the semi-conductor element. This device was developed by P. Castelli, a signalman in the Italian Navy, and was further modified by Lieutenant Luigi Solari of the Italian Navy, who then presented it to Marconi during a visit to the Lizard station in September 1901. It was subsequently known as the 'Solari' or 'Italian Navy' detector. It was a sensitive detector, but was sometimes erractic in terms of working performance.

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