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Oscilloscopic Characterization of an Electronically Ignited Spark Source

Volume 20, Number 2 (April 1966) Page 80-89

Walters, J.P.; Malmstadt, H.V.


The use of a dual-beam, delayed-sweep oscilloscope in the study of the ignition and discharge characteristics of an electronically ignited spark source is described. Transient electrical behavior on a micro and submicrosecond time scale during three stages of spark ignition is discussed, including the triggering and firing of the switching thyratron and the breakdown characteristics of the control spark gaps. Elimination of much of the time jitter in the ignition is discussed. A convenient and straightforward method of monitoring the oscillatory discharge current is presented and used to estimate the residual circuit inductance and resistance. Reactive models are suggested to explain the operation of the source.