Application of Atlas Pulsed Power System for Radiation Production Using a Plasma Opening Switch

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

31st IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science



First page number:


Last page number:



Summary form only given. The Atlas pulsed power generator was built few years ago by Los Alamos National Laboratory for conducting hydrodynamic experiments in support of weapons-physics experiments for the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program. Modifications to the system have also been in evaluated in the past for radiation experiments where the required current rise time is one order of magnitude shorter than that of hydrodynamic experiments. To achieve this very short rise time, inductive-energy storage with a plasma opening switch configuration appears to be the best option. The paper furthers the work reported in by analyzing a circuit model of the Atlas machine as a source of X-rays. The circuit consists of physics-based electrical models for the Marx capacitor banks and series damping resistors, output cables, transmission lines, plasma opening switch, vacuum feed, and Z-pinch load. PSpice circuit simulation is used to predict system performance for various parameter values, and conditions for achieving maximum radiation produced by the kinetic energy of the Z-pinch load. Inductance changes of the load during implosion, and of the plasma opening switch during the conduction phase are simulated according to published models. The main assumption that is made in the study is that the conduction and opening physics of the plasma opening switch scales to the plasma density required for the much larger Atlas current magnitude.


Electric circuits; Pulsed power systems


Energy Systems | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering




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