Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2021


In this research, a self-breakdown switch with 12.7 mm diameter spherical electrodes and a 380-micron gap was assembled and the effect of pressure and stress time on breakdown voltage and closure time were measured. Specifically, the pressure was varied from atmosphere to 2000 psia and the stress time was varied from seconds to nanoseconds. Few studies have investigated equivalent ranges of pressure and charge times on sub millimeter gap switches with electric field intensities reaching 2 MV/cm. The correlation of the parameters and switch behavior are explored in this study. In addition, the effects of humidity and electrode surface deformities were noted. Understanding the impacts of these variables on switch behavior and performance allows for optimum designing of specific pulse generators.


high-voltage, high-pressure, sphere-electrodes, charge-times, pressurized-switch, self-break-switch


Research supported by Sandia National Laboratories contract to the University of New Mexico via PO 2234381.

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Edl Schamiloglu

Second Committee Member

Dr. Mark Gilmore

Third Committee Member

Mr. Brian Stoltzfus