Nanosecond, pulsed microdischarge UV and VUV sources

Using voltage pulses, 10s–100s of nanoseconds in length, microdischarges (MDs) are driven with up to 1 kV, and current levels from 30–150 A. Time-averaged input power levels from 10 W–1+ kW are achieved depending on the selection of pulse width and pulse repetition rate (1 kHz–1 MHz). Using an argon-hydrogen mixture, intense VUV radiation is generated at 121.6 nm (10.2 eV, Lyman-alpha). With this source, instantaneous power levels in excess of 60 watts have been achieved with several watts time-averaged power in the VUV.

Additional work utilizing XeCl (308 nm) and XeF (351 nm) excimer sources is also reported. Achieved power levels, instantaneous and time-averaged, efficiency, and impurity content are reported. As an application, the MD-UV source is utilized as an alternative to a highpower laser for the triggering of high voltage photoconductive SiC switches.

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