Interface breakdown during high-power microwave transmission

A. A. Neuber, G. F. Edmiston, J. T. Krile, H. Krompholz, J. C. Dickens, M. Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The major limiting factor in the transmission of narrowband high-power microwaves (HPM) has been the interface between vacuum-vacuum or even more severely between vacuum-air if HPM are to be radiated into the atmosphere. Extensive studies have identified the physical mechanisms associated with vacuum/dielectric flashover, as opposed to the mechanisms associated with dielectric/air flashover, which are not as well known. Due to the high electron collision frequencies (in the terahertz range) with the background gas molecules, established mitigation methods and concepts of vacuum/dielectric flashover will have to be re-evaluated. The primarily limiting factors of HPM transmission through a dielectric/air interface are presented based on recent experiments at 2.85 GHz. The physics of the involved mechanisms and their practical ramifications are discussed. The potential of surface roughness/geometry for flashover mitigation is addressed as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Dielectric breakdown
  • High-power microwaves (HPM)
  • Surface flashover


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