High power water switches: Postbreakdown phenomena and dielectric recovery

Shu Xiao, J. Kolb, S. Kono, S. Katsuki, R. P. Joshi, M. Laroussi, K. H. Schoenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The physical processes following the electrical breakdown of water between planar and hemispherical electrodes separated by a sub-millimeter gap have been studied using electrical and optical diagnostics. The expanding plasma column after breakdown generates first shockwaves and at a later stage a vapor bubble which expands for about 200 μs and then decays with a time constant of 1 ms. The bubble decay time determines the dielectric recovery of the switch as has been shown with pulse-probe experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-612
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Dielectric recovery
  • Electrical breakdown
  • Pulsed power switching
  • Shock-waves
  • Water


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