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Properties of high gain GaAs switches for pulsed power applications

By: Zutavern, F.J.; Loubriel, G.M.; Hjalmarson, H.P.; Falk, R.A.; Helgeson, W.D.; O'Malley, M.W.; Ruebush, M.H.; Mar, A.;

1997 / IEEE / 0-7803-4213-5


This item was taken from the IEEE Conference ' Properties of high gain GaAs switches for pulsed power applications ' High gain GaAs photoconductive semiconductor switches (PCSS) are being used in a variety of electrical and optical short pulse applications. The highest power application, which we are developing, is a compact, repetitive, short pulse linear induction accelerator. The array of PCSS, which drive the accelerator, will switch 75 kA and 250 kV in 30 ns long pulses at 50 Hz. The accelerator will produce a 700 kV, 7kA electron beam for industrial and military applications. In the low power regime, these switches are being used to switch 400 A and 5 kV to drive laser diode arrays which produce 100 ps optical pulses. These short optical pulses are for military and commercial applications in optical and electrical range sensing, 3D laser radar, and high speed imaging. Both types of these applications demand a better understanding of the switch properties to increase switch lifetime, reduce jitter, optimize optical triggering, and improve overall switch performance. These applications and experiments on the fundamental behavior of high gain GaAs switches is discussed. Open shutter, infra-red images and time-resolved Schlieren images of the current filaments, which form during high gain switching, are presented. Results from optical triggering experiments to produce multiple, diffuse filaments for high current repetitive switching are described.