UCLA researchers in the Department of Physics have developed a plasma opening switch that enables quick diversion of multi-gigawatt pulses to a protective shunt circuit.
Opening switches are used in pulsed power applications for signal conditioning, inductive power sources, and thermal management. However, modern switches for pulsed power applications are either fast, simple, or inexpensive; it is difficult to find solutions strong in all three areas. A switch offering all three advantages will have a market advantage over the alternatives.
UCLA researchers have developed a low-cost, fast, and simple plasma-based opening switch for high power applications. The switch can conduct hundreds of kiloamps of current and open on a microsecond time scale, holding off tens of kilovolt potentials. The design utilizes readily available materials, eliminating long-lead items. Additionally, it requires few parts, enhancing manufacturability while minimizing design complexity.
Successful technology demonstration in laboratory environment.
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