Field enhanced microwave breakdown in gas for a plasma limiter

D. Hemmert, A. Neuber, H. Krompholz, J. Mankowski, D. Saeks

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A new type of plasma limiter is being developed capable of turn-on in less than 1 nsec. The approach taken is to initiate streamer breakdown via a micron radius needle tip. Studies were conducted on breakdown with a variety of gases at pressures from 103 to 10-2 torr. Gases tested included dry air, neon, argon, and krypton. Studies were also conducted on dc-voltage biasing the needle and its effect on breakdown. The experimental setup uses an S-band traveling wave resonant ring (TWRR) capable of power levels up to 100 MW when coupled to a 2.86 GHz, 4 MW, magnetron. High speed diagnostics with a response on the order of 1 ns record the microwave power, luminosity, and x-rays. A high speed CCD camera with an adjustable exposure time down to 10 nsec records a snapshot of the breakdown sequence. Preliminary results exhibit a reduction in expected gas breakdown levels by over two orders of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE International Conference on Plasma Science
StatePublished - 2002
Event2002 IEEE International Conference on plasma Science - Banff, Alta., Canada
Duration: May 26 2002May 30 2002


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