Laser-driven semiconductor switch for generating nanosecond pulses from a megawatt gyrotron

Julian F. Picard, Samuel C. Schaub, Guy Rosenzweig, Jacob C. Stephens, Michael A. Shapiro, Richard J. Temkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A laser-driven semiconductor switch (LDSS) employing silicon (Si) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafers has been used to produce nanosecond-scale pulses from a 3 μs, 110 GHz gyrotron at the megawatt power level. Photoconductivity was induced in the wafers using a 532 nm laser, which produced 6 ns, 230 mJ pulses. Irradiation of a single Si wafer by the laser produced 110 GHz RF pulses with a 9 ns width and >70% reflectance. Under the same conditions, a single GaAs wafer yielded 24 ns 110 GHz RF pulses with >78% reflectance. For both semiconductor materials, a higher value of reflectance was observed with increasing 110 GHz beam intensity. Using two active wafers, pulses of variable length down to 3 ns duration were created. The switch was tested at incident 110 GHz RF power levels up to 600 kW. A 1-D model is presented that agrees well with the experimentally observed temporal pulse shapes obtained with a single Si wafer. The LDSS has many potential uses in high power millimeter-wave research, including testing of high-gradient accelerator structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164102
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 22 2019


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