Gas breakdown in the sub-nanosecond regime with voltages below 15 kV

H. Krompholz, L. L. Hatfield, M. Kristiansen, D. Hemmert, B. Short, J. Mankowski, M. Brown, L. Altgilbers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gaseous breakdown in the sub-nanosecond regime is of interest for fast pulsed power switching, short pulse electromagnetics, and for plasma limiters to protect devices from high power microwave radiation. Previous investigations of sub-nanosecond breakdown were mainly limited to high-pressure gases or liquids, with applied voltages in excess of 100 kV. In this paper, we investigate possibilities to achieve sub-nanosecond breakdown at applied voltages below 7.5 kV in point-plane geometries. The setup consists of a pulser (risetime between 400 ps tol ns), 50-Ω transmission line, axial needle-plane gap with outer coaxial conductor, and a 50-Ω load line. The needle consists of tungsten and has a radius of curvature below 0.5 μm. The constant system impedance of 50 Ω (except in the vicinity of the gap) and a special transmission-line-type current sensors enables current and voltage measurements with a dynamic range covering several orders of magnitude, with temporal resolution down to 80 ps. For pulse amplitudes of 1.7 kV (which are doubled at the open gap before breakdown) delay times between start of the pulse and start of a measurable current flow (amplitude > several milliamperes) have a minimum of about 8 ns, at a pressure of 50 torr in argon. Voltages of 7.5 kV produce breakdowns with a delay of about 1 ns. With negative pulses applied to the tip, at an amplitude of 7.5 kV, breakdown is always observed during the rising part of the pulse, with breakdown delay times below 800 ps, at pressures between 1 and 100 torr. At lower pressure, a longer delay time (8 ns at 50 mtorr) is observed. We expect the breakdown mechanism to be dominated by electron field emission, but still influenced by gaseous amplification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPPPS 2001 - Pulsed Power Plasma Science 2001
EditorsMark Newton, Robert Reinovsky
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages487-490
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)0780371208, 9780780371200
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Event28th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science and 13th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference, PPPS 2001 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2001Jun 22 2001

Publication series

NamePPPS 2001 - Pulsed Power Plasma Science 2001
Volume1

Conference

Conference28th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science and 13th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference, PPPS 2001
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
Period06/17/0106/22/01

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    Krompholz, H., Hatfield, L. L., Kristiansen, M., Hemmert, D., Short, B., Mankowski, J., Brown, M., & Altgilbers, L. (2015). Gas breakdown in the sub-nanosecond regime with voltages below 15 kV. In M. Newton, & R. Reinovsky (Eds.), PPPS 2001 - Pulsed Power Plasma Science 2001 (pp. 487-490). [1002139] (PPPS 2001 - Pulsed Power Plasma Science 2001; Vol. 1). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/PPPS.2001.01002139