Experimental Investigations of High Voltage Pulsed Pseudospark Discharge and Intense Electron Beams


A high voltage pulsed discharge device which can produce intense high energy electron beam named "pseudospark" is presented in this work. This discharge device is able to hold 10s of kV voltage, kA current and 10¹⁰ - -10¹¹ A/s current rising rate. The pseudospark device is also a simply-constructed source for intense electron beam with high energy. The presented experimental investigation is focused on the discharge properties of pseudospark and the plasma-produced electron beam characteristics for current and potential applications in aerospace problems. The discharge property results show the presented pseudospark device has the hold-off voltages up to 26 kV and discharge current of 2 kA with current rising rate of 1 × 10¹¹ A/sec. And the comparative study on various discharge configurations show the capability of pseudospark device to hold voltage and high current generation in short pulse can be further improved by the device geometric configuration, leading to higher pulsed load drive capability. The intense electron beam obtained from the multi-gap pseudospark device has a current up to 132.2 A, and electron number is varied from 4 x 10¹⁵ to 2 × 10¹⁶ in the presented operation voltage range obtained from 10s of cm 3 charged particle channel. The energy analysis on this pseudospark-produced electron beam displays the "double-hump" non-Maxwellian energy distribution. The maximum energy peak value varies from 900 eV to 6.3 keV under 4 kV to 12 kV discharge voltage. Specifically, comparison of the beam parameters obtained from pseudospark device and the electron beam requirement for a MHD channel indicates pseudospark is a promising electron source.

Meeting Name

50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition (2012: Jan. 9-12, Nashville, TN)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2012 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

12 Jan 2012