Inertial confinement fusion using light ion beams requires fast rise time, high power drivers. One technique to enhance a conventional pulsed power generator is to use a plasma erosion opening switch (PEOS) between the generator and the ion diode. Ideally, the PEOS conducts current until a current threshold is reached, then rapidly opens and delivers the inductively stored energy to the load on a short time scale. Experiments at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) used a PEOS to improve the Gamble II current rise time from 60 ns to 10 ns at 1 MA. Load voltages over 4 MV have been obtained (>2× the matched load voltage).
Based on these experiments and theoretical predictions, a PEOS system has been incorporated into the PBFA II experiment at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The PEOS on PBFA II is ultimately to provide a 6 to 8-MA, 30-MV pulse with 10-ns rise time into an “applied B” ion diode. This is a large extrapolation of present experiments. The PEOS system on PBFA II is described here and theoretical predictions are given.