Low-Pressure Plasma Opening Switches

  • Robert W. Schumacher
  • Robin J. Harvey
Part of the Advances in Pulsed Power Technology book series (APUT, volume 1)


Plasma switch devices such as thyratrons, spark gaps, and ignitrons have enjoyed great success in closing-switch applications where high currents must be switched from high voltage on short time scales with low forward-voltage drop. However, plasma devices are not usually considered as repetitive fast opening switches. Although they can be opened by commutation (or by counterpulse techniques), commutation requires significant power, and recovery times are generally long: ≳ 10 μs. Ideally, a plasma switch is desired which can perform both closing and opening functions at high speed and high repetition rates under low-power control, like a hard-vacuum tube, but without the large forward-voltage drop and low thermionic-cathode current restrictions which are associated with hard tubes.


Glow Discharge Pulse Repetition Frequency Control Grid Anode Voltage Cathode Current Density 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Schumacher
    • 1
  • Robin J. Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Plasma Physics DepartmentHughes Research LaboratoriesMalibuUSA

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