Contributing factors to window flashover under pulsed high power microwave excitation at high altitude

G. Edmiston, A. Neuber, L. McQuage, J. Krile, H. Krompholz, J. Dickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


One of the major limiting factors for the transmission of high power microwave (HPM) radiation is the interface between dielectric-vacuum or even more severely between dielectric-air if HPM is to be radiated into the atmosphere. Surface flashover phenomena which occur at these transitions severely limit the power levels which can be transmitted. It is of major technological importance to predict surface flashover events for a given window geometry, material and power level. When considering an aircraft based high power microwave platform, the effects on flashover formation due to variances in the operational environment corresponding to altitudes from sea level to 50,000 feet (760 to 90 Torr; 1 Torr=133.3 Pa) are of primary interest. The test setup is carefully designed to study the influence of each atmospheric variable without the influence of high field enhancement or electron injecting metallic electrodes. Experimental data of flashover delay times across different materials, such as polycarbonate, Teflon®, and high density polyethylene as a function of background pressure and gas type, air, N2, argon are discussed. An empirical relationship between flashover field amplitude and delay time is given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Dielectric breakdown
  • Electromagnetic radiation effects
  • Flashover
  • Microwave propagation
  • Microwave technology
  • Surface discharges
  • Waveguides


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