Light Activated Solid-State Switch for Hydrogen Thyratron Replacement

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Optiswitch Technology Corp.
6355 Nancy Ridge Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Principal Investigator


76360-To improve the reliability, increase the lifetime and reduce the overall costs of high peak power modulators for colliders, a replacement switch for the Hydrogen Thyratron is needed. Therefore, this project will design, fabricate, and test a high-voltage, light-activated, solid-state switch as a direct replacement for the Hydrogen Thyratron. The switch will comprise three light-activated switches in series, in order to achieve an operating voltage of 50 kV and a peak current greater than 7 kA with a risetime of 0.3-0.5 ?s. The switch will be triggered by a fiber-coupled semiconductor laser diode array. Phase I will design the light activated switch using advanced two-dimensional silicon process and device simulation codes. In addition, a conceptual design of the packaging, the laser diode driver, and the fiber coupling between the semiconductor laser diode and the switch will be completed. Lastly, the series operation of two switches up to 20-30 kV and a peak current greater than kA will be demonstrated. In Phase II, an optimized prototype switch will be designed, fabricated, and tested for use as a direct replacement for the Hydrogen Thyratron switch. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: In addition to the collider application, the switching technology should find use in the development of switches for lightning arrestors and fault initiating systems for the utility industry. Other applications include switches for pulsed systems that perform metal forming, welding, food sterilization, and bacterial decontamination.