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Proceedings Paper

Cryogenic Silicon Photoconductive Switches For High Power Lasers
Author(s): R. A. Petr; W. C. Nunnally; C. V. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Silicon photoconductive switches have the potential to replace such plasma discharge switches as sparkgaps and thyratrons that are commonly found in pulsed laser drive circuits. This offers the possibility of developing advanced modulators that are all solid-state, and which enjoy the advantages of improved efficiency, compactness, and life expectancy. Silicon operating at liquid nitrogen temperature is especially attractive as a power switch because at 77K it displays an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion, a large optical absorption depth for 1.06um light, and a large thermal conductivity. These factors allow low temperature silicon to switch power levels an order of magnitude greater than at 300K, and an experimental cyrogenic silicon switch has been made to switch pulses of 15kV, 1.2kA, 0.5uS duration at 100Hz recurrent frequency. It is shown that silicon switches compare favorably with thyratrons in terms of electrical ratings and energy transfer efficiency, and should be considered in advanced pulser designs for both terrestrial and space applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 1988
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 0871, Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning, (6 April 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.943680
Show Author Affiliations
R. A. Petr, University of Texas at Arlington (United States)
W. C. Nunnally, University of Texas at Arlington (United States)
C. V. Smith, University of Texas at Arlington (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0871:
Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning
Raymond F. Askew, Editor(s)

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