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Study of the effects of the prefilled-plasma parameters on the operation of a short-conduction plasma opening switch

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6 Author(s)
A. Weingarten ; Fac. of Phys., Weizmann Inst. of Sci., Rehovot, Israel ; V. A. Bernshtam ; A. Fruchtman ; C. Grabowski
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Spectroscopic methods are used to determine the density, the temperature, the composition, the injection velocity, and the azimuthal uniformity of the flashboard-produced prefilled plasma in an 85-ns, 200-kA plasma opening switch (POS). The electron density is found to be an order of magnitude higher than that obtained by charge collectors, which are commonly used to determine the density in such POSs, suggesting that the density in short conduction POS's is significantly higher than is usually assumed. We also find that the plasma is mainly composed of protons. The spectroscopically measured plasma parameters are used here to calculate the conduction currents at the time of the opening predicted by various theoretical models for the POS operation. Comparison of these calculated currents to the measured currents indicates that the plasma behavior during conduction is governed either by plasma pushing or by magnetic-field penetration and less by sheath widening near the cathode, as described by existing models. Also, the conduction current mainly depends an the prefilled electron density and less on the plasma flux, which is inconsistent with the predictions of the erosion (four-phase) model for the switch operation. Another finding is that a better azimuthal uniformity of the prefilled plasma density shortens the load-current rise time

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IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 6 )