Evaluation of ABB Fast Discharge A-Z Switch

Report No. ARL-TR-2640
Authors: Hardev Singh, Charles R. Hummer
Date/Pages: March 2002; 31 pages
Abstract: The semiconductor switch 5SPY 36L4502 manufactured by ABB1 has the capability of conducting current pulses with an amplitude of 150 kA and a width of 50 micro seconds. This capability was achieved by a silicon wafer that is 91 mm in diameter. In addition, this switch can withstand a current pulse that is initially increasing at a rate of 10 kA/micro second. This capability was achieved by a special triggering unit that produces a 9.5-kA pulse with a rise time of 2.5 micro seconds, a low inductance structure between the triggering unit and the internal contact to the gate structure on the silicon wafer, and a highly interdigitated gate structure. These capabilities make it possible to replace some spark-gap switches, thyratrons, or ignitrons used in research at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory with this semiconductor switch that is smaller, more reliable, and has a longer life time. Because of the possible uses for this switch, its characteristics were evaluated and the requirements for its use were determined. This study should assist in the design of new circuits and should determine if this switch could replace existing switches.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2002