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Experimental investigation of current modulation in a planar Cs-Ba tacitron

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2 Author(s)
B. Wernsman ; Inst. for Space & Nucl. Power Studies, New Mexico Univ., Albuquerque, NM, USA ; M. S. El-Genk

The Cs-Ba tacitron is being considered as a switch, or as an inverter consisting of two switches operating in a push-pull mode, for power conditioning of low voltage/high current dc power sources operating in high radiation/high temperature environment, beyond the limits of semiconductor switches. This paper presents new experimental results delineating the effect of the various operating parameters on the grid potential needed for ignition, Vg+, and extinguishing, Vg-, during stable current modulation of a planar Cs-Ba tacitron. Parameters investigated are Cs pressure, emitter temperature, TE, discharge current, IC , and modulation frequency, fg. The value of Vg +, which is independent of TE, decreases as Cs pressure increases, but increases as either IC or fg increases. Increasing the emitter temperature from 1100-1200°C only slightly decreases the forward voltage drop in the device by ~0.2 V. The value of |Vg-| increases with Cs pressure, decreases with increased TE, and is sensitive to changes in fg. At IC=5 A, the value of |Vg -| for stable modulation shows a maximum between 8 kHz and 10 kHz. The Cs pressure, IC, fg, and Vg+ all affect the ignition delay time; depending on the operating conditions, it increases from 5-30 μs to an equilibrium value of 10-45 μs during the first 2 ms in the pulse train

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 2 )