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The purpose of this paper is to provide a discussion of the fundamental processes occurring in hydrogen thyratrons. Recent experimental data pertaining to electron densities, energies, and excitation processes occurring in devices during their normal operation are presented. Electron densities are observed to be lower than 2 Ã 1014 cm-3, corresponding to current densities of approximately 100 A/cm2. The presence of both molecular and atomic species affecting recovery and voltage reerection is reported, and mechanisms for this are discussed. Streak camera data showing a delay in breakdown of the gridanode relative to the grid-cathode region are also presented.