A new design concept for field distortion triggered spark gaps



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Texas Tech University


Common field-distortion triggered spark gaps utilizing geometric field enhancement at sharp edges usually operate in a cascade mode via the trigger electrode. A new trigger concept is proposed allowing strong field enhancement and direct breakdown between the two main electrodes. A test device was designed to prove the feasibility of this concept. Experimental results on hold-off voltage and on delay and jitter dependent on percent breakdown voltage are presented. Best results achieved are a delay of 9 nanoseconds (ns) and a jitter of 2 ns at a self-breakdown voltage of 15 KV. The fields code ELF (Tetra Corporation, Albuquerque, NM) was used to verify the experimental results. An optimum location of the trigger electrode was calculated, and it matched the experimental data within a 5% accuracy. A full-scale field distribution graph was generated in both the triggered and the non-triggered cases, which are believed to represent the triggering action.