Statistical characterization of anode-initiated vacuum surface flashover

Michael Mounho, Raimi Clark, William Brooks, Matthew Hopkins, Andreas Neuber, Jacob Stephens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Statistical characterization of vacuum surface flashover is achieved by electrically stressing a positive 45° wedge of cross-linked polystyrene (Rexolite) with a fast, high-voltage pulse. The insulator is placed between a hemispherical anode with a 2 cm radius extending into a parallel plate planar cathode. This configuration is intended to confine the flashover plasma to a 1 cm wide region on the surface of the insulator for repeatable optical access. The voltage source comprises an 8-stage Marx generator that can provide a pulse up to 264 kV with a 50 ns risetime. Two capacitive voltage dividers are used as voltage diagnostics for the system. They are placed on the high-voltage coaxial cable entering the vacuum chamber and on the ground side of the flashover gap. A current viewing resistor (CVR) is placed into the outer shield of the high-voltage coaxial cable as the current diagnostic. A DSLR camera is employed to capture a time-integrated image of the flashover event. Pulse voltage, current, and risetime statistics are collected and reported for a statistically significant sample size for a 2.5 mm gap.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9798350332339
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2023 - San Antonio, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 29 2023

Publication series

NameIEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-4915
ISSN (Electronic)2158-4923


Conference2023 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio


  • Flashover
  • vacuum breakdown


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