A modular, high REP-RATE, fast-risetime, optically-isolated, pulse trigger generator

David H. Barnett, Jonathan M. Parson, Curtis F. Lynn, Patrick M. Kelly, James C. Dickens, Andreas A. Neuber, John J. Mankowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The paper presents the design and operational characteristics of an optically isolated, compact, modular pulse generator for spark-gap triggering applications. The pulse trigger generator is capable of operating at pulse repetition frequencies (PRFs) > 1 kHz for short bursts with variable pulse magnitudes and risetimes. The trigger generator utilizes a transformer, magnetic switch and an IGBT primary switch. It has been successfully used to trigger a trigatron-driven 10-stage, Marx generator driving a high power load. For portability and noise immunity, the trigger generator is optically isolated from its low voltage control and powered via a lithium ion polymer battery pack. A constant current dc-dc power supply charges the high voltage circuitry of the trigger generator and enables continuous operation with two modules. For operation, a large capacitor is initially charged and used as a buffer energy source. The intermediate charge storage in conjunction with a command-Triggered MOSFET, provides the ability to quickly re-charge a trigger capacitor between each pulse of the burst. Circuit topology, experimental data, including voltage and current waveforms, and jitter of the overall system are discussed at various PRFs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479984039
StatePublished - Oct 12 2015
EventIEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015 - Austin, United States
Duration: May 31 2015Jun 4 2015

Publication series

NameDigest of Technical Papers-IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference


ConferenceIEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Capacitance
  • Generators
  • Magnetic cores
  • Optical switches
  • Power supplies
  • Pulse transformers


Dive into the research topics of 'A modular, high REP-RATE, fast-risetime, optically-isolated, pulse trigger generator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this