Self-induced gaseous plasma as high power microwave opening switch medium

S. Lin, S. Beeson, C. Liu, J. Dickens, A. Neuber

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Self-induced gaseous plasma is evaluated as active opening switch medium for pulsed high power microwave radiation. The self-induced plasma switch is investigated for N2 and Ar environments under pressure conditions ranging from 25 to 700 Torr. A multi-pass TE111 resonator is used to significantly reduce the delay time inherently associated with plasma generation. The plasma forms under the pulsed excitation of a 4 MW magnetron inside the central dielectric tube of the resonator, which isolates the inner atmospheric gas from the outer vacuum environment. The path from the power source to the load is designed such that the pulse passes through the plasma twice with a 35 ns delay between these two passes. In the first pass, initial plasma density is generated, while the second affects the transition to a highly reflective state with as much as 30 dB attenuation. Experimental data revealed that virtually zero delay time may be achieved for N2 at 25 Torr. A two-dimensional fluid model was developed to study the plasma formation times for comparison with experimental data. The delay time predicted from this model agrees well with the experimental values in the lower pressure regime (error < 25%), however, due to filamentary plasma formation at higher pressures, simulated delay times may be underestimated by as much as 50%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043509
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


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