Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Gap closure mechanisms in the pinch reflex diode are studied using cylindrical, two-dimensional, fully kinetic, electromagnetic, particle-in-cell simulations. The key physical dimensions in the model are based on the Mercury accelerator at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Simulation results agree well with theoretically predicted currents and impedances as well as with experimental values. The effects of cathode plasma formation with various desorption rates are studied. Also examined are different cathode plasma species including H, H2, N2, H2O, and C. While the presence of heavier plasma species results in lower ion current production, total diode current and voltage are not impacted. Charge exchange between neutral H2 and H2+ yields a decrease in ion current but does not result in a decreased anode-cathode gap. In the short-pulse limit studied here, charge exchange is not found to be a dominating factor in pinch reflex diode impedance collapse.


particle-in-cell, pinch reflex diode

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gilmore, Mark

Second Committee Member

Lehr, Jane