I was reading Zener diode topic from Boylestad's book and there was a line that I didn't quite understand. It states - "Zener breakdown will contribute to the sharp change in the characteristics because there is a strong electric field in the region of the junction that can disrupt the bonding forces within the atom and "generate" carriers." What does it actually mean? What I want to know is how a strong electric field is being created and how this electric field is disrupting the bonding forces within atom? How are carrier being generated? Are they majority carrier or minority carrier? I want to know the internal mechanism of the occurrence of Zener breakdown. Could anyone please help me out? Also, Zener potential, Breakdown voltage and Peak inverse/reverse voltage - do these three terms refer to the same thing?