We study the dielectric strength of vacuum gaps of under 100 nm. We find their dielectric strengths to have a power law dependence on the gap size. We apply this power law to find that the dielectric strength of a vacuum gap of 10 nm between two tungsten electrodes is 6.5 V/nm. The dielectric strength can be used to compute the maximum energy density, charge density, and power density. For tungsten, the maximum volumetric energy density is 190 MJ/m3. Nano vacuum gaps can discharge in 10 nanoseconds, giving a maximum gravitometric power density of 1012 W/kg. While the external discharge time is a few nanoseconds, the self-discharge time can be hours or days. The specific capacitance of a vacuum gap of size d is C = ε0/d2. If d = 10nm then C = 8.85×104 F/m3.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation|
|State||Published - Aug 20 2013|
- vacuum breakdown
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering