Microwave breakdown of low pressure N(2) gas in microgaps

Document Type


Publication Date



The pressure dependence of the breakdown of nitrogen gas by a microwave field in microgaps down to 13 mu m has been measured. Fits to a phenomenological function suggest that microwave breakdown in small gaps requires a higher collision frequency, nu(c). If the effective electric field on an electron in a microgap is interpreted as E(eff) = E(o)root nu(2)(c)/(nu(2)(c) + omega(2)) and then as the gap size is reduced, we find that the collision frequency needed to produce a minimum breakdown electric field shifts from nu(c) = omega for large gaps to nu(c) = 2 omega for small gaps. (C) 2011 American Institute ofPhysics. [doi:10.1063/1.3641900]