Ultra-wideband source using gallium arsenide photoconductive semiconductor switches

Jon S.H. Schoenberg, Jeffrey W. Burger, J. Scott Tyo, Michael D. Abdalla, Michael C. Skipper, Walter R. Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


An ultrawide-band (UWB) pulse generator based on high-gain (lock-on mode) gallium arsenide (GaAs) photoconductive semiconductor switches (PCSS's) is presented. Revised PCSS contact design shows improved performance in hold-off field, on-state switch potential, and switching jitter, while reducing the switch volume by 75% compared to previous designs. A compact laser diode module operates at 904 nm and triggers the PCSS at pulse repetition rates (PRR) of up to 2 kHz. The 625 W laser diode output power is found to be sufficient to produce switching jitter of 65 ps rms at a switched field of 80 kV/cm. The PCSS switching jitter is found to have a strong dependence upon the switched field when triggered with the laser diode module. The revised PCSS geometry is easily integrated into a compact, parallel-plate source used to drive a TEM horn impulse-radiating antenna (IRA). The radiated field has a rise time of 330 ps and an adjustable low-frequency spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Cite this