Pulsed power
Encyclopedia
Pulsed power is the term used to describe the science and technology of accumulating energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

over a relatively long period of time and releasing it very quickly thus increasing the instantaneous power.

## Overview

Steady accumulation of energy followed by its rapid release can result in the delivery of a larger amount of instantaneous power
Power (physics)
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. For example, the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit...

over a shorter period of time (although the total energy is the same). Energy is typically stored within electrostatic fields (capacitor
Capacitor
A capacitor is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in an electric field. The forms of practical capacitors vary widely, but all contain at least two electrical conductors separated by a dielectric ; for example, one common construction consists of metal foils separated...

s), magnetic field
Magnetic field
A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude ; as such it is a vector field.Technically, a magnetic field is a pseudo vector;...

s (inductor
Inductor
An inductor is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in a magnetic field. An inductor's ability to store magnetic energy is measured by its inductance, in units of henries...

), as mechanical energy (using large flywheel
Flywheel
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store rotational energy. Flywheels have a significant moment of inertia, and thus resist changes in rotational speed. The amount of energy stored in a flywheel is proportional to the square of its rotational speed...

s connected to special purpose high current alternator
Alternator
An alternator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of alternating current.Most alternators use a rotating magnetic field but linear alternators are occasionally used...

s), or as chemical energy (high-current lead-acid batteries
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

, or explosives). By releasing the stored energy over a very short interval (a process that is called energy compression), a huge amount of peak power can be delivered to a load
If an electric circuit has a well-defined output terminal, the circuit connected to this terminal is the load....

. For example, if one joule
Joule
The joule ; symbol J) is a derived unit of energy or work in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre , or in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second...

of energy is stored within a capacitor and then evenly released to a load over one second, the peak power delivered to the load would only be 1 watt. However, if all of the stored energy were released within one microsecond
Microsecond
A microsecond is an SI unit of time equal to one millionth of a second. Its symbol is µs.A microsecond is equal to 1000 nanoseconds or 1/1000 millisecond...

, the peak power would be one megawatt, a million times greater. Examples where pulsed power technology is commonly used include radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, particle accelerator
Particle accelerator
A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams. An ordinary CRT television set is a simple form of accelerator. There are two basic types: electrostatic and oscillating field accelerators.In...

s, ultrastrong magnetic field
Magnetic field
A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude ; as such it is a vector field.Technically, a magnetic field is a pseudo vector;...

s, fusion
Fusion power
Fusion power is the power generated by nuclear fusion processes. In fusion reactions two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus . In doing so they release a comparatively large amount of energy arising from the binding energy due to the strong nuclear force which is manifested...

research, electromagnetic pulse
Electromagnetic pulse
An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field...

s, and high power pulsed laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

s.

## History

Pulsed Power was first developed during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

. Radar requires short high power pulses. After the war development continued in other applications leading to the super pulsed power machines at Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories
The Sandia National Laboratories, managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation , are two major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratories....

.

• Marx generator
Marx generator
A Marx generator is an electrical circuit first described by Erwin Otto Marx in 1924. Its purpose is to generate a high-voltage pulse. Marx generators are often used to simulate the effects of lightning on power line gear and aviation equipment....

• Explosively pumped flux compression generator
Explosively pumped flux compression generator
An explosively pumped flux compression generator is a device used to generate a high-power electromagnetic pulse by compressing magnetic flux using high explosive....

• Compulsator
Compulsator
A compensated pulsed alternator, also known by the portmanteau compulsator, is a form of power supply.As the name suggests, it is an alternator that is "compensated" to make it better at delivering pulses of electrical energy than a normal alternator.- Description and operation:The principle is...

• EMP
Electromagnetic pulse
An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field...

• Z machine
Z machine
The Z machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. Operated by Sandia National Laboratories, it gathers data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear weapons...

• Particle accelerator
Particle accelerator
A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams. An ordinary CRT television set is a simple form of accelerator. There are two basic types: electrostatic and oscillating field accelerators.In...

• Pulse Forming Network (PFN)
Pulse forming network
A Pulse Forming Network accumulates electrical energy over a comparatively long time, then releases the stored energy in the form of a relatively square pulse of comparatively short duration for various pulsed power applications...

• "Magnet kicker"
Dipole magnet
A dipole magnet, in particle accelerators, is a magnet constructed to create a homogeneous magnetic field over some distance. Particle motion in that field will be circular in a plane perpendicular to the field and collinear to the direction of particle motion and free in the direction orthogonal...

• Electromagnetic pulse forming
Electromagnetic forming
Electromagnetic forming is a type of high velocity, cold forming process for electrically conductive metals, most commonly copper and aluminium. The workpiece is reshaped by high intensity pulsed magnetic fields that induce a current in the workpiece and a corresponding repulsive magnetic field,...

• Electromagnetic pulse welding
Magnetic pulse welding
Magnetic pulse welding is a welding process that uses magnetic forces to drive two workpieces together and weld them together. The welding mechanism is most similar to that in explosion welding.-Process:...

• Pinch (plasma physics)
Pinch (plasma physics)
A pinch is the compression of an electrically conducting filament by magnetic forces. The conductor is usually a plasma, but could also be a solid or liquid metal...

• Thyratron
Thyratron
A thyratron is a type of gas filled tube used as a high energy electrical switch and controlled rectifier. Triode, tetrode and pentode variations of the thyratron have been manufactured in the past, though most are of the triode design...

• Triggered spark gap
• Ignitron
Ignitron
An ignitron is a type of controlled rectifier dating from the 1930s. Invented by Joseph Slepian while employed by Westinghouse, Westinghouse was the original manufacturer and owned trademark rights to the name "Ignitron"....

• Crossatron
Crossatron
In electronics, a crossatron is a high-power pulsed modulator device, a cold cathode gas-filled tube that combines the best features of thyratrons, vacuum tubes, and power semiconductor switches...

• Linear Transformer Driver
Linear Transformer Driver
The linear transformer driver is a low-voltage variant of the inductive-voltage-adder technology first applied at Arzamas-16 , Russia and later at the Institute for high-current electronics in Tomsk, Russia. The Hermes III gamma-ray simulator at Sandia National Laboratories is another example of...

• Power (physics)
Power (physics)
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. For example, the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit...

## Manufacturers

• ABB Pulsed Power Manufacturer of semiconductor-based replacements for thyratrons