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Article

Laboratory demonstration of runaway electron breakdown of air

Physics Letters A. 2011. Vol. 374. No. 30-31. P. 2845-2849.
Zybin K., Mesyats G. A., Gurevich A. V.

Results of experiments demonstrating the phenomenon of runaway electron breakdown of atmospheric air under laboratory conditions are presented. As the discharge-initiating electron beam of duration ∼50 ps∼50 ps had passed through the electrode gap, a runaway electron avalanche current was detected in the electrode gap downstream of the anode grid and then breakdown occurred with picosecond stability. The maximum electron energy and the duration of the avalanche current corresponded to theoretical notions about the runaway electron breakdown of atmospheric air in a strong electric field. Breakdown did not occur at all or was considerably delayed when no initiating beam was used.