Results of high-speed electrical and optical diagnostics are used as a basis to discuss a new surface flashover model. Outgassing, caused by electron stimulated desorption, is found to play a crucial role in the temporal flashover development. Dielectric unipolar surface flashover under vacuum is experimentally characterized by a three-phase development, that covers a current range from 10-4 A to 100 A. Phase one comprises a fast (several nanoseconds) build-up of a saturated secondary electron avalanche reaching current levels of 10 to 100 mA. Phase two is associated with a slow current amplification reaching currents in the Ampere level within typically 100 nanoseconds. The final phase is characterized by a fast current rise up to the impedance-limited current on the order of 100 A. The development during phase two and three is described by a zero-dimensional model, where electron-induced outgassing leads to a Townsend-like gas discharge above the surface. This is supported by time-resolved spectroscopy that reveals the existence of excited atomic Hydrogen and ionic Carbon before the final phase. The feedback mechanism towards a self-sustained discharge is due to space charge leading to an enhanced field emission from the cathode. A priori unknown model parameters, such as outgassing rate and gas density build-up above the surface, are determined by fitting calculated results to experimental data. The significance of outgassing is also discussed with a view to microwave surface flashover.
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - 1999|
|Event||12th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference - Monterey, CA, USA|
Duration: Jun 27 1999 → Jun 30 1999
|Conference||12th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference|
|City||Monterey, CA, USA|
|Period||06/27/99 → 06/30/99|