Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member

Robert A. Schill, Jr.

Second Committee Member

Rama Venkat

Third Committee Member

Yahia Baghzouz

Fourth Committee Member

Len Zane

Number of Pages



The Non-Equilibrium Plasma Pinch (NEPP), also known as the Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) is well known as a source of energetic ions, relativistic electrons and neutrons as well as electromagnetic radiation extending from the infrared to X-ray. In this dissertation, the operation of a 15 kJ, Mather type, NEPP machine is studied in detail. A large number of experiments are carried out to tune the machine parameters for best performance using helium and hydrogen as filling gases. The NEPP machine is modified to be able to extract the copious number of electrons generated at the pinch. A hollow anode with small hole at the flat end, and a mock magnetron without biasing magnetic field are built. The electrons generated at the pinch are very difficult to capture, therefore a novel device is built to capture and transport the electrons from the pinch to the magnetron. The novel cup-rod-needle device successfully serves the purpose to capture and transport electrons to monitor the pinch current. Further, the device has the potential to field emit charges from its needle end acting as a pulsed electron source for other devices such as the magnetron.

Diagnostics tools are designed, modeled, built, calibrated, and implemented in the machine to measure the pinch dynamics. A novel, UNLV patented electromagnetic dot sensors are successfully calibrated, and implemented in the machine. A new calibration technique is developed and test stands designed and built to measure the dot's ability to track the impetus signal over its dynamic range starting and ending in the noise region. The patented EM-dot sensor shows superior performance over traditional electromagnetic sensors, such as Rogowski coils. On the other hand, the cup-rod structure, when grounded on the rod side, serves as a diagnostic tool to monitor the pinch current by sampling the actual current, a quantity that has been always very challenging to measure without perturbing the pinch. To the best of our knowledge, this method of measuring the pinch current is unique and has never been done before. Agreement with other models is shown. The operation of the NEPP machine with the hole in the center of the anode and the magnetron connected including the cup-rod structure is examined against the NEPP machine signature with solid anode. Both cases showed excellent agreement. This suggests that the existence of the hole and the diagnostic tool inside the anode have negligible effects on the pinch.


Beam management device; Dense plasma focus; Electromagnetic dot sensors; Microwave generation; Nonequilibrium plasmas; Physical instruments – Calibration; Pinch effect (Physics); Plasma pinch; Scientific apparatus and instruments


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Electromagnetics and Photonics | Engineering Physics | Plasma and Beam Physics

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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