Direct observation of vacuum arc evolution with nanosecond resolution

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Zhou , Z , Kyritsakis , A , Wang , Z , Li , Y , Geng , Y & Djurabekova , F 2019 , ' Direct observation of vacuum arc evolution with nanosecond resolution ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 9 , 7814 .

Title: Direct observation of vacuum arc evolution with nanosecond resolution
Author: Zhou, Zhipeng; Kyritsakis, Andreas; Wang, Zhenxing; Li, Yi; Geng, Yingsan; Djurabekova, Flyura
Contributor organization: Helsinki Institute of Physics
Department of Physics
Date: 2019-05-24
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
Abstract: Sufficiently high voltage applied between two metal electrodes, even in ultra high vacuum conditions, results in an inevitable discharge that lights up the entire gap, opening a conductive channel through the vacuum and parasitically consuming large amounts of energy. Despite many efforts to understand the processes that lead to this phenomenon, known as vacuum arc, there is still no consensus regarding the role of each electrode in the evolution of such a momentous process as lightning. Employing a high-speed camera, we capture the entire lightning process step-by-step with a nanosecond resolution and find which of the two electrodes holds the main responsibility for igniting the arc. The light that gradually expands from the positively charged electrode (anode), often is assumed to play the main role in the formation of a vacuum arc. However, both the nanosecond-resolution images of vacuum arc evolution and the corresponding theoretical calculations agree that the conductive channel between the electrodes is built in the form of cathodic plasma long before any significant activity develops in the anode. We show evidently that the anode illumination is weaker and plays a minor role in igniting and maintaining the conductive channel.
114 Physical sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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