Multiple x-ray bursts from long discharges in air

C.V. Nguyen, A.P.J. Deursen, van, U.M. Ebert

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A lightning surge generator generates a high-voltage surge with a 1.2 µs rise time. The generator fed a spark gap of two pointed electrodes at 0.7 to 1.2 m distances. Gap breakdown occurred between 0.1 and 3 µs after the maximum generator voltage of approximately 850 kV. Various scintillator detectors with different response times recorded bursts of hard radiation in nearly all surges. The bursts were detected over the time span between approximately half of the maximum surge voltage and full gap breakdown. The consistent timing of the bursts with the high-voltage surge excluded background radiation as the source for the high intensity pulses. In spite of the symmetry of the gap, negative surges produced more intense radiation than positive. This has been attributed to additional positive discharges from the measurement cabinet which occurred for negative surges. Some hard radiation signals were equivalent to several megaelectronvolts. Pile-up occurs of lesser energy x-ray quanta, but still with a large fraction of these with an energy of the order of 100 keV. The bursts occurred within the 4 ns time resolution of the fastest detector. The relation between the energy of the x-ray quanta and the signal from the scintillation detector is quite complicated, as shown by the measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234012-1/7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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