An electron beam triggered spark gap



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Texas Tech University


The triggering of a high-voltage gas-insulated spark gap by an electron (e) beam has been investigated. Rise times of approximately 2.5 ns with sub-nanosecond jitter (~0.2 ns) have been obtained for 3 cm gaps charged at voltages as low as 50 percent of the self-breakdown voltage (varied up to 0.5 MV). The switch delay (including the e-beam diode) was 52 ns. The triggering e-beam pulse has a duration of 15 ns and a 0-50 percent rise time of 1.5 ns. The e-beam current is 0.5 kA, and the electron energy can be varied in the range from 80 to 145 keV. The working media were N2, mixture of N2 and Ar, and N2 and SF6 at pressures of 1-3 atm. Voltage, current and jitter measurements have been made for a wide range of gap conditions and e-beam parameters. The effects of varying the e-beam cross-sectional area and the beam energy are discussed.