Dielectric Breakdown in Solids
ARMY MISSILE RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING LAB REDSTONE ARSENAL AL GUIDANCE AND CONTROL DIRECTORATE
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Experimental and theoretical descriptions of dielectric breakdown phenomena in solids are reviewed. No existing theory seems to adequately explain the range of observed effects. A new model of dielectric breakdown is proposed that combines existing mechanisms in a distinctive fashion. The model considers the breakdown process to contain five stages creation of a critical charge density, bond disruption, chemical chain reaction, growth of a gaseous cavity and crack formation, completion of the gaseous channel bridging the electrodes and conduction through this channel. Breakdown conduction is taken to occur only after the solid has been bridged by the gaseous channel. A phenomenological theory is presented for the growth dynamics of the channel. The implications of the entire model are discussed. The model is believed to provide meaningful perspectives concerning the light emission accompanying breakdown, on the geometric configuration of breakdown patterns, on the roles of inhomogeneities, voids and electrode projections, and other significant aspects of breakdown.
- Solid State Physics