Surface-Discharge Switches

Surface-discharge switches offer very-large charge transfer with extremely low inductance. An ordinary plasma-closure switch conducts by formation of a single arc between two opposite electrodes. Avalanche ionization of the gas between the electrodes forms the conducting plasma. With a surface-discharge, however, multiple plasma channels develop between electrodes resting on an insulator. When a grounded backplane is employed, these arc channels distribute the current over a low-inductance topology. With careful design of mating connectors, self inductances as low as a few nanoHenries are possible. Lifetime is generally limited by erosion of the dielectric insulator, but all of our designs allow for both electrode and insulator replacement.

These switches are available in both planar and cylindrical (Z-pinch and inverse Z-pinch) configurations. Planar geometries are most applicable to strip-line transmission lines whereas cylindrical geometries are appropriate for coaxial lines, including Pulse Forming Lines (PFL's). Electrical and optical triggering are possible. Multichannel operation demands fast triggering and we develop a custom trigger generator along with the switch. Due to their extremely low inductance, surface-discharge switches are ideal candidates for crowbar applications.


Model SG-206 coaxial surface-discharge switch:
0.6-20 kV, 17 Coulombs

Model SG-301 protective switch:
~200-800 kV, >1 MA

Surface-discharge switches are custom developed for the intended application. We do not offer these switches as standard products and exportation of this technology is strictly controlled. Examples shown above were developed for complete pulsed power systems. The SG-206 switch is employed with our PFN-2 pulse forming network system and the SG-301 is used in our MV-1 Marx generator. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Inquiries for additional product information are welcome!

Last revision: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:03:44 -0500