Using Miniature Thyratrons to Drive High-Power Diode Lasers

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Forrest Mims III
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Using Miniature Thyratrons to Drive High-Power Diode Lasers

Post by Forrest Mims III » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:36 am


Yes, you can think of a MOSFET switching transistor as a kind of solid state thyratron.

I once used miniature thyratrons made by EG&G to apply 100 amp pulses to GaAs laser diodes. The pulses were very brief (20-50 nsec) and had ultra-fast risetimes. The power supply was two 67.5 volt batteries in series.

Back in the last century I wrote an article about this high-current laser pulser for Ham Radio magazine ("High Power Injection Lasers," September 1971, 28-33).

The commercial name of this thyratron was Krytron. The Krytron was developed to initiate the detonation of a certain kind of mass destruction device. This application caused its export outside the US to be banned.

The device is the size of the end of your thumb and contains a radioactive isotope.


Forrest M. Mims III

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