When a diode is connected to a source of alternating voltage, it will be alternately forward-biased, and then reverse-biased, during each cycle of the AC sine-wave. When a single diode is used in a rectifier circuit, current will flow through the circuit only during one-half of the input voltage cycle (Figure 6). For this reason, this rectifier circuit is called a half-wave rectifier. The output of a half-wave rectifier circuit is pulsating DC.
Figure 6 Half-Wave Rectifier