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The Gamitron - A High Power Crossed-Field Switch Tube for HVDC Interruption

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2 Author(s)
Lutz, Michael A. ; Hughes Research Laboratories, 3011 Malibu Canyon Road Malibu, California 90265 ; Hofmann, Gunter A.

A high power crossed-field discharge device has been developed for use as a high voltage direct current interrupter. This device operates at low pressure (0.05 Torr), conducting current at a fixed voltage (~500 V) only in the presence of a weak magnetic field (~100 G) which is substantially perpendicular to the electric field between the electrodes. When the magnetic field is removed, ionization ceases and current interruption results. Physical phenomena occurring in this device have been investigated, including the glow-to-arc transition, gas cleanup, and high voltage breakdown. Based on the results of these investigations, switch tubes have been developed and successfully tested at the 2 kA, 100 kV level, with recovery rates in excess of 2 kV/¿s. The availability of such devices will make possible many applications including HVDC circuit breakers, ac current limiters, and practical inductive energy storage.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 1 )