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Particle-in-Cell Model of a Laser-Triggered Spark Gap

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2 Author(s)
Worts, E.J. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Missouri Univ., Columbia, MO ; Kovaleski, S.D.

A particle-in-cell simulation of the streamer formation process in a laser-triggered spark gap has been developed to estimate streamer radius and conductivity under a variety of conditions. The motivation for developing the model was to understand the initial conditions of the switching arc in a laser-triggered spark gap, with the goal of accelerating the resistive decay of the arc. In a parallel plate switch configuration with dimensions of 0.6 mm times 0.3 mm, the electric field was varied from 2 to 5 MV/m, the gas pressure was varied from 1 to 1.5 atm, and the gas type was varied between Ar and Ne. The laser triggering parameters, including the laser ionization rate (from 5 to 20middot1018 s-1), laser spot area (from 1200 to 4800 mum2), and laser spot orientation relative to the electric field, were also varied. The electric field had a large influence on radius, increasing it by 19% with increasing field, and on conductivity, resulting in a 285% increase with increasing field. Among the laser triggering parameters, a linear focal spot-oriented transverse relative to the electric field direction was observed to produce a very large increase in streamer radius

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 5 )