Initiation of high power microwave dielectric interface breakdown

A. Neuber, D. Hemmert, H. Krompholz, L. Hatfield, M. Kristiansen

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A simple model of vacuum/dielectric/vacuum interface breakdown initiation caused by high power microwave has been developed. In contrast to already existing models, a spatially varying electron density normal to the interface surface has been introduced. Geometry and parameter ranges have been chosen close to the conditions of previously carried out experiments. Hence, physical mechanisms have become identifiable through a comparison with the already known experimental results. It is revealed that the magnetic field component of the microwave plays an important role. The directional dependence introduced by the magnetic field leads to a 25% higher positive surface charge buildup for breakdown at the interface downstream side as compared to the upstream side. This and the fact that electrons are, in the underlying geometry, generally pulled downstream favors the development of a saturated secondary electron avalanche or a saturated multipactor at the upstream side of the dielectric interface. The previously observed emission of low energy x-ray radiation from the interface is explained by bremsstrahlung generated by impacting electrons having initially a higher energy than the average emission energy. Final breakdown is believed to be triggered by electron induced outgassing or evaporation, generating a considerable gas density above the dielectric surface and eventually leading to a gaseous breakdown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1728
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1999


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