Fundamental investigation in two flashover-based trigger methods for low-pressure gas discharge switches

Phys. Dept., Univ. of Erlangen-Nurnberg, Erlangen, Germany
IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (Impact Factor: 0.95). 03/2004; DOI: 10.1109/TPS.2004.825523
Source: IEEE Xplore

ABSTRACT Modern switches for pulse-power technology have special requirements such as long lifetime, reliability in a wide pressure and voltage range, as well as small delay time. In order to meet these requirements, two trigger methods were developed and examined. These two different trigger methods based on a flashover were tested for the emission behavior by variation of different parameters. The first configuration is a semiconductor surface flashover trigger, where electron emission is based on a surface flashover between the contact area of a copper spring and a carbide cylinder. The second trigger concept is the high-dielectric trigger, where electrons are released by the field emission effect at the transition between metal-vacuum and dielectric. For this system, high dielectric materials with dielectric constants in the order of 2000 are available. The electrical and optical measurements of both trigger systems were done in a modular structured vacuum chamber. For lower pressure, the high-dielectric trigger shows better performances and higher emitted charge of the electron emission within all adjusted parameters like gas pressure, applied voltage, and different wirings. In addition to the higher emitted charge, the emitted electrons from the high-dielectric material have higher energies. For the lifetime characteristic, the high-dielectric trigger shows lifetimes much higher than 100 million discharges.

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