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The major limiting factor in the transmission of HPM has been the interface between dielectric-vacuum or even more severely between dielectric-air if HPM is to be radiated into the atmosphere. Extensive studies have identified the physical mechanisms associated with vacuum-dielectric flashover, as opposed to the mechanisms associated with air-dielectric flashover, which are not as well known. Surface flashover tests involving high field enhancement due to the presence of a triple point have shown that volume breakdown threshold (dielectric removed) is approximately 50% higher than the flashover threshold with a dielectric interface over the 90-760 torr range . In order to quantify the role of field enhancement in the flashover process independent of electron injection from metallic surfaces, the effects of the triple point are minimized by carefully choosing the geometry and in some cases the triple point is "removed" from the flashover location. We will present experimental results, including the impact of gas pressure, and discuss possible causes for the difference in the rf-breakdown field with and without the interface/metallic triple point portion.
Pulsed Power Conference, 2005 IEEE
Date of Conference: 13-17 June 2005