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Effect of dc voltage pulsing on high-vacuum electrical breakdowns near Cu surfaces

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  • A. Saressalo
  • I. Profatilova
  • W.L. Millar
  • A. Kyritsakis
  • S. Calatroni
  • W. Wuensch
  • F. Djurabekova
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Article number113101
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review Accelerators and Beams
Issue number11
Volume23
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Vacuum electrical breakdowns, also known as vacuum arcs, are a limiting factor in many devices that are based on application of high electric fields near their component surfaces. Understanding processes that lead to breakdown events may help mitigate their appearance and suggest ways for improving operational efficiency of power-consuming devices. Stability of surface performance at a given value of the electric field is affected by the conditioning state, i.e., how long the surface was exposed to this field. Hence, optimization of the surface conditioning procedure can significantly speed up the preparatory steps for high-voltage applications. In this article, we use pulsed dc systems to optimize the surface conditioning procedure of copper electrodes, focusing on the effects of voltage recovery after breakdowns and variable repetition rates as well as long waiting times between pulsing runs. Despite the differences in the experimental scales, ranging from 10-4 s between pulses up to pulsing breaks of 105 s, the experiments show that the longer the idle time between the pulses, the more probable it is that the next pulse produces a breakdown. We also notice that secondary breakdowns, i.e., those which correlate with the previous ones, take place mainly during the voltage recovery stage. We link these events with deposition of residual atoms from vacuum on the electrode surfaces. Minimizing the number of pauses during the voltage recovery stage reduces power losses due to secondary breakdown events, improving efficiency of the surface conditioning. © 2020 authors.