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A mechanism for nanosecond cathode spot operation in vacuum arcs

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1 Author(s)
Beilis, I.I. ; Fleischman Fac. of Eng., Tel Aviv Univ., Israel

A model for nonstationary cathode spot operation in vacuum arcs is proposed. The model takes into account increasing spot current during the spot life time. Calculations for a copper cathode indicate that the spot current density increases when the rate of rise of the spot current dI/dt increases and can exceed 108 A/cm2 for dI/dt about 1011 A/s. The plasma density is 1020-1021 cm-3. The plasma electron temperature Te is about 3-4 eV when the cathode potential drop Uc=15-20 V and Te reaches 7-8 eV when the U c fluctuates and increases up to 40-50 V. The calculated spot parameters are in the range measured in recent experiments with nanosecond time resolution. The effect of different mechanisms of electron emission (thermo-and thermo-field emission) was investigated. The self-sustained solution shows that the spot current density changes by factor 2 by using different emission mechanism in the system of equation

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 5 )