Plasma relaxation mechanics of pulsed high power microwave surface flashover

S. Beeson, J. Dickens, A. Neuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Microwave transmission and reflection characteristics of pulsed radio frequency field generated plasmas are elucidated for air, N2, and He environments under pressure conditions ranging from 10 to 600 torr. The pulsed, low temperature plasma is generated along the atmospheric side of the dielectric boundary between the source (under vacuum) and the radiating environment with a thickness on the order of 5 mm and a cross sectional area just smaller than that of the waveguide. Utilizing custom multi-standard waveguide couplers and a continuous low power probing source, the scattering parameters were measured before, during, and after the high power microwave pulse with emphasis on the latter. From these scattering parameters, temporal electron density estimations (specifically the longitudinal integral of the density) were calculated using a 1D plane wave-excited model for analysis of the relaxation processes associated. These relaxation characteristics ultimately determine the maximum repetition rate for many pulsed electric field applications and thus are applicable to a much larger scope in the plasma community than just those related to high power microwaves. This manuscript discusses the diagnostic setup for acquiring the power measurements along with a detailed description of the kinematic and chemical behavior of the plasma as it decays down to its undisturbed state under various gas type and pressure conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number093509
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


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