X-ray preionization for triggering spark gaps



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Texas Tech University


The use of a cold field emission flash x-ray tube for spark gap triggering is described, along with measurements of the ionization produced by the tube in nitrogen and argon. For the ionization measurements, the tube is mounted on an ionization chamber constructed to measure the ionization vs. distance travelled in the gas. The pressures of interest are 1, 3, and 5 atmospheres. The tube is then mounted on a spark gap and the x-rays are used to trigger the gap. The delay and jitter are measured at various percentages of the self-breakdown voltage for pressures of 1, 3, and 5 atmospheres. The contributions of the gas ionization and photoelectron emission from the electrodes are considered.