Compact Pulsed Power Source for High Repetition Rate Applications

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OBJECTIVE: To develop a high power, nanosecond power source that operates continuously at a high repetition rate for propulsion, directed energy, and energy production systems. DESCRIPTION: High peak power, nanosecond pulsed power sources are a enabling technology for a wide number of applications. Performance gains occur for a number of reasons depending on the application. Examples include: 1) macroscopic and microscopic non-equilibrium plasmas created by nanosecond discharges; and 2) soliton formation on dispersive, nonlinear transmission lines. In the first example, higher energy, beam-like electrons in plasma streamers, rather than thermally equilibrated electrons, can be employed to create reactive species that favorably alter chemical reactions for a range of applications from combustion ignition, ozone production, and even medical applications. In the second example, high frequency solitons generated by solid state architectures show promise for enabling compact, microwave sources that are significantly lighter and more reliable than existing technology for directed energy applications. For the nanosecond power sources to compete with existing technology they must meet a number of stringent specifications; common ones being that the source be compact, lightweight, and reliable. While compact sources based on solid state technology have been reported in the literature, most of these are not capable of operating at the conditions required by real world applications. There is need for a new class of systems capable of producing pulses at sustained high repetition rates in order for these applications to realize their potential. The purpose of this topic is to investigate issues associated with developing a nanosecond source that runs at repetition rates of at least 100 kHz, and to build a prototype that can operate continuously under these conditions. Key issues of this topic include increasing system efficiency; understanding the effect of temperature on the constitutive parameters of dielectric, magnetic, and semiconductor materials including frequency dependent loss; limits of material performance with respect to electrical breakdown and melting, and optimizing active/passive component cooling. An additional consideration, given the short pulse nature of the discharge waveform, is consideration of electromagnetic interference and compatibility such that these new pulsed power systems avoid wreaking havoc on other electrical components in the system. Therefore, attention to shielding is necessary for development of practical systems. PHASE I: Phase I effort should combine results from material testing and modeling at the device and system levels with experimental results to build a laboratory demonstration unit capable of operating at 20 kHz into suitable loads at voltages above 10kV. Verification and validation of the design protocol should be demonstrated during this effort. PHASE II: Based on insight gained from the designing and testing the prototype unit, develop a full scale system that reliably generates pulses with parameters useful for the applications mentioned above (amplitude greater than 50 kV, FWHM between 10 and 100 ns, repetition rate greater than or equal to 100 kHz). Unit should be able to interface with power sources standardly available in military vehicles, and provide isolation of electromagnetic interference to external system. PHASE III: System adoption for commercial and military applications. Examples of application areas include internal combustion engines for increased efficiency; combustion for diesel and gas turbine engines; reduced ignition delay in pulsed detonation engines; plasma assisted flow control to reduce drag. REFERENCES: 1. E. Schamiloglu et. Al."Modern Pulsed Power."Proc. IEEE, vol. 92, 1014 (2004). 2. J.A. Gaudet et. Al."Research issues in developing compact pulsed power for high peak power applications on mobile platforms."Proc. IEEE, vol. 92, 1144, (2004). 3. D.A. Singleton et. Al."Compact Pulsed-Power System for Transient Plasma Ignition."IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 37, 2275 (2009).

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