Low pressure, light initiated, glow discharge switch for high power applications

Kirkman, George F.; Gundersen, Martin A.
September 1986
Applied Physics Letters;9/1/1986, Vol. 49 Issue 9, p494
Academic Journal
A low pressure glow discharge switch that has a number of features that are desirable for high power applications is described. The switch has achieved high stand-off voltage and peak current, has potential for very fast current rate of rise, and operates near the glow-to-arc transition in hydrogen or helium. Closure is initiated by light incident on the back of the cathode, and it is observed that surface damage within the area of illumination is less than surrounding areas. Several aspects of the switch are similar to thyratrons and pseudosparks.


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