Visual and electrical evidence supporting a two-plasma mechanism of vacuum breakdown initiation

Carlos H. Castano, Maro Aghazarian, John B.O. Caughman, David N. Ruzic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The energy available during vacuum breakdown between copper electrodes at high vacuum was limited using resistors in series with the vacuum gap and arresting diodes. Surviving features observed with SEM in postmortem samples were tentatively correlated with electrical signals captured during breakdown using a Rogowski coil and a high-voltage probe. The visual and electrical evidence is consistent with the qualitative model of vacuum breakdown by unipolar arc formation by Schwirzke [1, 2]. The evidence paints a picture of two plasmas of different composition and scale being created during vacuum breakdown: an initial plasma made of degassed material from the metal surface, ignites a plasma made up of the electrode material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6171864
Pages (from-to)1217-1222
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

Keywords

  • Breakdown model
  • plasma material interactions
  • unipolar arc
  • vacuum breakdown

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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