Cutaway diagram of a triode vacuum tube, showing the plate (anode)
The plate from an EL84pentode tube widely used in audio amplifiers in 1960s era radios and televisions, and still used in guitar amplifiers
In electronics, a plate, usually called anode in Britain, is a type of electrode that forms part of a vacuum tube. It is usually made of sheet metal, connected to a wire which passes through the glass envelope of the tube to a terminal in the base of the tube, where it is connected to the external circuit. The plate is given a positive potential, and its function is to attract and capture the electrons emitted by the cathode. Although it is sometimes a flat plate, it is more often in the shape of a cylinder or flat open-ended box surrounding the other electrodes.
The plate must dissipate heat created when the electrons hit it with a high velocity after being accelerated by the voltage between the plate and cathode. Most of the waste power used in a vacuum tube is dissipated as heat by the plate. In low power tubes it is usually given a black coating, and often has "fins" to help it radiate heat. In power vacuum tubes used in radio transmitters it is often made of a refractory metal like molybdenum. and is part of a large heat sink that projects through the glass or ceramic tube envelope and is cooled by forced air or water.