Results are presented from experimental studies of the prebreakdown stage of a discharge in nitrogen at pressures of a few tens of atmospheres, gap voltages higher than 140 kV, and a voltage rise time of about 1 ns. Breakdown occurs at the front of the voltage pulse; i.e., the time of breakdown formation is shorter than the front duration. It is shown that, in gaps with a nonuniform electric field, the breakdown formation time is mainly determined by the time of avalanche development to the critical number of charge carriers. The subsequent stages of breakdown (the development of the ionization wave and the buildup of the conductivity in the weakly conducting channel bridging the gap) turn out to be shorter than this time or comparable to it.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)