Window breakdown caused by high-power microwaves

A. Neuber, James Dickens, David Hemmert, H. Krompholz, L. L. Hatfield, Magne Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Physical mechanisms leading to microwave breakdown on windows are investigated for power levels on the order of 100 MW at 2.85 GHz. The test stand uses a 3-MW magnetron coupled to an 5-band traveling wave resonator. Various configurations of dielectric windows are investigated. In a standard pillbox geometry with a pressure of less than 10 6 Pa, surface discharges on an alumina window and multipactor-like discharges starting at the waveguide edges occur simultaneously. To clarify physical mechanisms, window breakdown with purely tangential electrical microwave fields is investigated for special geometries. Diagnostics include the measurement of incident/reflected power, measurement of local microwave fields, discharge luminosity, and x-ray emission. All quantities are recorded with 0.2-1-ns resolution. In addition, a framing camera with gating times of 5 ns is used. The breakdown processes for the case with a purely tangential electric field is similar to dc flashover across insulators, and similar methods to increase the flashover field are expected to be applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998


  • Breakdown
  • High-power microwaves
  • Interfaces


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