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Silicon carbide as electrode material of a pseudospark switch

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3 Author(s)
Weisser, W. ; Phys. Dept., Friedrich-Alexander Univ., Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany ; Frank, Klaus ; Schroder, G.

Through the last years, the pseudospark switch, a low-pressure gas discharge switch with hollow cathode geometry, became established as a promising element of pulsed power technology and a serious alternative to other high-power switches. The use of a novel electrode material silicon carbide yields performance improvements in two main areas. Quenching phenomena, a long-standing problem for several applications, are suppressed completely and the switch lifetime can be distinctly increased, approaching that of thyratrons for operation with high repetition rate. As a crow-bar switch, the lifetime is nearby unlimited due to cold electrode usage. Spatial and temporal resolved spectroscopy revealed new insight into the extraordinary discharge behavior of silicon carbide electrodes. The radial plasma expansion from the central bore hole to the outer electrode regions, forming vesicular shells of different ionization stages of Si and C, are described in detail. The remaining problem, a significant loss of deuterium gas during discharge, has been long-term tested and is assumed to be the outcome of absorption in the silicon carbide electrodes. An envisaged promising remedy is presented

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 3 )