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SPARK GAP TRIGGERING WITH PHOTOCONDUCTIVE SWITCHES


J.R. Mayes and W.J. Carey
Applied Physical Electronics, L.C.
602 Explorer Austin, Texas 78734

The University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, Missouri 65201

ABSTRACT

Photoconductive switches are well suited for triggering spark gaps since the triggering event is short and requires very little energy. Photoswitches offer fast-rising pulses of short duration with voltage levels of several 10’s of kV and 10’s of ps jitter and can be very simple in design, whereas typical trigger sources require multiple stages to generate 10’s of kV needed to effectively trigger a spark gap of the same potential and usually suffer from slow risetimes. This paper presents methods aimed at triggering spark gaps with photoswitches. Both linear and non-linear photoswitches are discussed and their associated problems are presented.

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