Can intentional electrical discharges be used for HPM protection?
Paper in proceedings, 2011
The possibility to protect electronics against High Power Microwaves (HPM) using an intentional electrical discharge triggered by the HPM pulse has been investigated. The case considered is a resonant slot, located e.g. in an antenna array or in a Frequency Selective Surface (FSS). The reduction of the pulse energy transmitted through the slot is regarded to be the most important parameter of merit. Experimental and theoretical research showed that a spark in the middle of a 46.3 0.1 mm resonant slot, induced by the incident HPM-pulse, gave a reduction of the transmitted pulse energy of about 24 dB. The studies showed that the investigated approach can provide a quite good level of protection that at least reduces the requirements on additional protection components such as limiters integrated in receivers located behind the slot. In order to achieve a sufficiently strong enhancement of the electric field to initiate breakdown in wide slots one presumably has to introduce a small pointed gap in the middle of the slot. This may in turn require that a radioactive sample is located close to the gap in order to produce a sufficient number of seed electrons necessary for triggering the discharge. © 2011 IEEE.