Effect of surface produced secondary electrons on the sheath structure induced by high-power microwave window breakdown

Cheng, Guoxin; Liu, Lie
March 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2011, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p033507
Academic Journal
Dielectric window breakdown, whose mechanism is not thoroughly understood, is a major factor of limiting the transmission and radiation of high-power microwave on the order of 1 GW. In this paper, a one-dimensional fluid-like sheath model is developed to investigate the sheath structures formed at different gas pressures. The dominant processes during the surface flashover are isolated by this model. In vacuum, electron multipactor is self-sustained by secondary electron emission, a positive space-charge potential is formed on the dielectric surface. With increasing gas pressure, electron-neutral ionization prevails against secondary electron emission. The multipactor effect is suppressed by the shielding of plasma electrons. This leads to the sheath potential changing gradually from a positive space-charge potential to a negative space-charge potential. For argon gas pressure lower than 14 Torr, the sheath is space charge limited. A potential minimum could be formed in front of the dielectric which traps secondary electrons emitted from the wall. With the higher argon gas pressure, the number density of ions becomes comparable to that of electrons, all surface produced electrons are accelerated toward the presheath region. Therefore, the normal sheath is formed and the resulting surface flashover on the dielectric surface becomes rf-driven volumetric breakdown.


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