Investigation of High Voltage Discharges in Low Pressure Gases Through Large Ceramic Superconducting Electrodes


A device has been built and tested, in which a ceramic superconducting cathode and a copper anode cause electrical discharges in low pressure gases, at temperatures between 50 and 70 K. The electrodes are connected to a capacitors array charged up to 2000 kV; peak currents are of the order of 104 A. The cathode has the diameter of 10 cm and is fabricated by OCMTG technology. In discharges at voltage above 500 kV two new phenomena were observed, probably related to each other. First, the discharge does not look like a spark, but is a flat, glowing discharge, which originates from the whole surface of the superconducting electrode. Furthermore, a radiation pulse is emitted at the discharge, which propagates orthogonally to the cathode, towards the anode and beyond it, in a collimated beam, apparently without any attenuation. The radiation pulse carries an energy of 10−3 J at least. The features and the nature of this radiation have been investigated by several means, still it was not possible to identify it; we can only exclude that it is electromagnetic radiation or any other radiation with energy-momentum relationship E=cp.

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Podkletnov, E., Modanese, G. Investigation of High Voltage Discharges in Low Pressure Gases Through Large Ceramic Superconducting Electrodes. Journal of Low Temperature Physics 132, 239–259 (2003) doi:10.1023/A:1024413718251

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  • cathode
  • superconducting electrodes
  • emitter