Low-jitter triggered spark gap with high-pressure gas mixtures

Yeong Jer Chen, John J. Mankowski, James C. Dickens, John Walter, Magne Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recent attention to impulse antenna phased array has necessitated the need to develop a reliable high-voltage highrepetition-rate switch that will operate with ultralow jitter. An ideal jitter of a small fraction of the rise time is required to accurately synchronize the array to steer and preserve the rise time of the radiated pulse. This paper presents the impact that gases and gas mixtures have on switch performance which includes recovery rate and, in particular, jitter. A 50-Ω 1-nF pulse-forming line is charged to 30 kV and provides the low inductance voltage source to test the different gases. Triggering is provided by a solid-state opening switch voltage source that supplies < 100-kV 10-ns rise-time pulses at a rep rate of up to 1 kHz in burst mode. A hermetically sealed spark gap with a Kel-F lining is used to house the switch and high-pressure gas. The system includes a gas-mixing chamber that can mix various gases up to 2000 psi. Gases tested include dry air, H2, N2, and SF6. Switch operations in 30 kV and 10 Hz have shown reliable subnanosecond jitter times with pure gases, including dry air, H2, N2, and with H2-N2 and N2-SF6 gas mixtures. The system was then modified for 50-kV 100-Hz operations with data collected for each of the pure gases. Recovery was monitored with no major problems at the 100-Hz operation, and subnanosecond jitter results for H2, N2, and SF6 are also recorded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2546-2553
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number5 PART 3
StatePublished - 2008


  • High repetition rate
  • High-pressure gas mixtures
  • Impulse antenna
  • Phased array
  • Subnanosecond jitter


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