The dynamics of ionization processes in high-pressure nitrogen, air, and SF6 during breakdown of a gap with a nonuniform distribution of the electric field by nanosecond high-voltage pulses was studied experimentally. Measurements of the amplitude and temporal characteristics of a diffuse discharge and its radiation with a subnanosecond time resolution have shown that, at any polarity of the electrode with a small curvature radius, breakdown of the gap occurs via two ionization waves, the first of which is initiated by runaway electrons. For a voltage pulse with an ∼500-ps front, UV radiation from different zones of a diffuse discharge is measured with a subnanosecond time resolution. It is shown that the propagation velocity of the first ionization wave increases after its front has passed one-half of the gap, as well as when the pressure in the discharge chamber is reduced and/or when SF6 is replaced with air or nitrogen. It is found that, at nitrogen pressures of 0.4 and 0.7 MPa and the positive polarity of the high-voltage electrode with a small curvature radius, the ionization wave forms with a larger (∼30 ps) time delay with respect to applying the voltage pulse to the gap than at the negative polarity. The velocity of the second ionization wave propagating from the plane electrode is measured. In a discharge in nitrogen at a pressure of 0.7 MPa, this velocity is found to be ∼10 cm/ns. It is shown that, as the nitrogen pressure increases to 0.7 MPa, the propagation velocity of the front of the first ionization wave at the positive polarity of the electrode with a small curvature radius becomes lower than that at the negative polarity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)