Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2017


High-voltage directed energy systems have shown promise in the role of neutralizing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in various experiments over the last decade. While these systems can be very effective with significant benefits over conventional counter-IED techniques, the excessive space, weight, and prime power (SWaP) requirements create significant challenges in developing deployable systems. One promising technique for dramatically reducing the SWaP requirement for certain types of directed energy counter-IED systems is the separation of the pulsed-power circuits into high voltage and high energy subsystems. In this technique, termed low average power high-voltage energy (LP-HVE) a repetitive low-energy, high-voltage pulse subsystem serves as a probe and a high-energy, low-voltage system is used to inject energy only when a potential target is detected though the action of the high-voltage subsystem. By minimizing the energy of the high-voltage subsystem, the prime power requirement can be significantly reduced. Also, due to the generally poor energy density of high-voltage energy storage, a reduction in energy stored at high voltages leads to a significant reduction in system size and weight. Developing a successful system that implements this technique is contingent on an understanding of the interaction of low-energy, high-voltage pulses with buried conductors. My research has explored the effects of variation in pulse parameters and soil conditions on the interaction of these pulses with buried conductors under well-controlled conditions in an attempt to gain insight into the processes at work and to guide further development of this technique.


high voltage, pulsed power, IED, breakdown, discharge


Office of Naval Research

Document Type


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jane M. Lehr

Second Committee Member

Zhen Peng

Third Committee Member

Dustin Fisher