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Pulse Power Switch Development
Final rept. 19 Sep 1979-18 Jan 1980
HUGHES RESEARCH LABS MALIBU CA
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The objective of this study program has been to define an optimum technical approach to the longer range goal of achieving practical high repetition rate high power spark gap switches. Requirements and possible means of extending the state of the art of crossed field closing switches, vacuum spark gaps, and pressurized spark gaps are presented with emphasis on reliable, efficient and compact devices operable in burst mode at 250-300 kV, 40-60 kA, 1 kHz with approximately 50 nsec pulses rising in approximately 3 ns. Models of these devices are discussed which are based upon published and generated design data and on underlying physical principles. Based upon its relative advantages, limitations and tradeoffs we conclude that the Hughes Crossatron switch is the nearest term approach to reach the switch goal levels. Theoretical, experimental, and computer simulation models of the plasma show a collective ion acceleration mechanism to be active which is predicted to result in current rise times approaching 10 nsec. A preliminary design concept is presented. For faster rise times we have shown a vacuum surface flashover switch to be an interesting candidate. This device is limited by trigger instabilities and will require further basic development. The problem areas relevant to high pressure spark gaps are reviewed.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE