Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Winter 11-2-2021


As switching requirements for speed, power, and efficiency become more stringent, advances in wide-bandgap (WBG) materials has enabled their use in high power switching devices. One such device, the photoconductive semiconductor switch (PCSS), while previously constructed from GaAs, shows promise using WBG Mn-doped GaN. Lateral and vertical geometries of PCSS have been produced and evaluated for operation using sub-mJ/ns regime pulsed laser incidence. At fields below 25 kV/cm, the lateral switch operates in the linear regime where modest photocurrent fitting the laser envelope is observed. Above this threshold, the switches demonstrate circuit-limited persistent conductivity (PC) current, in what is presumed to be an avalanche process. To suppress flashover, switch operation was tested in both liquid and gaseous dielectric, where only linear switching behavior was observed. Lateral GaN PCSS testing has also shown indications of lock-on at a bias above 1500 V using a 532 nm pulsed (<10 ns FWHM) laser.


GaN, PCSS, pulsed power, laser, high voltage

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jane Lehr

Second Committee Member

Mark Gilmore

Third Committee Member

Andrew Fierro