Theoretical investigation of the effect of plasma dynamics on the switching characteristics of cesium vapor tacitrons
Bailon, Leoncio H.
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Cesium vapor tacitrons, which are gas-discharge triode devices operating as low-voltage, high-current switches with complete current control, fulfill the very taxing power conditioning requirements of thermionic space power systems. The objective of this thesis is to provide the initial theoretical study of Cs vapor tacitrons needed for the eventual design and development of switches capable of conditioning thermionic power systems operating in a space environment. A system of equations is formulated in order to determine the functional relationship of the electrical parameters to the structural, discharge, and plasma parameters of the device. This is done by starting from the basic physics of low-voltage cesium arcs and extending the system of equations, developed for a Knudsen arc in cesium diodes, to a triode system operating under the same conditions. The time dependence of these parameters is also accounted for in order to determine the effect of plasma dynamics on the switching characteristics of the device. The development of the theory is guided by a review of the experimental research on cesium vapor tacitrons in the Soviet Union. Results of this thesis can be used to optimize the electrical parameters of the cesium vapor triodes by varying the other parameters based on their functional relationship as given by the system of equations.