Flexible high voltage pulsed power supply for plasma applications

Zabihi, Sasan (2011) Flexible high voltage pulsed power supply for plasma applications. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Demands for delivering high instantaneous power in a compressed form (pulse shape) have widely increased during recent decades. The flexible shapes with variable pulse specifications offered by pulsed power have made it a practical and effective supply method for an extensive range of applications. In particular, the release of basic subatomic particles (i.e. electron, proton and neutron) in an atom (ionization process) and the synthesizing of molecules to form ions or other molecules are among those reactions that necessitate large amount of instantaneous power. In addition to the decomposition process, there have recently been requests for pulsed power in other areas such as in the combination of molecules (i.e. fusion, material joining), gessoes radiations (i.e. electron beams, laser, and radar), explosions (i.e. concrete recycling), wastewater, exhausted gas, and material surface treatments. These pulses are widely employed in the silent discharge process in all types of materials (including gas, fluid and solid); in some cases, to form the plasma and consequently accelerate the associated process. Due to this fast growing demand for pulsed power in industrial and environmental applications, the exigency of having more efficient and flexible pulse modulators is now receiving greater consideration. Sensitive applications, such as plasma fusion and laser guns also require more precisely produced repetitive pulses with a higher quality. Many research studies are being conducted in different areas that need a flexible pulse modulator to vary pulse features to investigate the influence of these variations on the application. In addition, there is the need to prevent the waste of a considerable amount of energy caused by the arc phenomena that frequently occur after the plasma process. The control over power flow during the supply process is a critical skill that enables the pulse supply to halt the supply process at any stage. Different pulse modulators which utilise different accumulation techniques including Marx Generators (MG), Magnetic Pulse Compressors (MPC), Pulse Forming Networks (PFN) and Multistage Blumlein Lines (MBL) are currently employed to supply a wide range of applications. Gas/Magnetic switching technologies (such as spark gap and hydrogen thyratron) have conventionally been used as switching devices in pulse modulator structures because of their high voltage ratings and considerably low rising times. However, they also suffer from serious drawbacks such as, their low efficiency, reliability and repetition rate, and also their short life span. Being bulky, heavy and expensive are the other disadvantages associated with these devices. Recently developed solid-state switching technology is an appropriate substitution for these switching devices due to the benefits they bring to the pulse supplies. Besides being compact, efficient, reasonable and reliable, and having a long life span, their high frequency switching skill allows repetitive operation of pulsed power supply. The main concerns in using solid-state transistors are the voltage rating and the rising time of available switches that, in some cases, cannot satisfy the application’s requirements. However, there are several power electronics configurations and techniques that make solid-state utilisation feasible for high voltage pulse generation. Therefore, the design and development of novel methods and topologies with higher efficiency and flexibility for pulsed power generators have been considered as the main scope of this research work. This aim is pursued through several innovative proposals that can be classified under the following two principal objectives. • To innovate and develop novel solid-state based topologies for pulsed power generation • To improve available technologies that have the potential to accommodate solid-state technology by revising, reconfiguring and adjusting their structure and control algorithms. The quest to distinguish novel topologies for a proper pulsed power production was begun with a deep and through review of conventional pulse generators and useful power electronics topologies. As a result of this study, it appears that efficiency and flexibility are the most significant demands of plasma applications that have not been met by state-of-the-art methods. Many solid-state based configurations were considered and simulated in order to evaluate their potential to be utilised in the pulsed power area. Parts of this literature review are documented in Chapter 1 of this thesis. Current source topologies demonstrate valuable advantages in supplying the loads with capacitive characteristics such as plasma applications. To investigate the influence of switching transients associated with solid-state devices on rise time of pulses, simulation based studies have been undertaken. A variable current source is considered to pump different current levels to a capacitive load, and it was evident that dissimilar dv/dts are produced at the output. Thereby, transient effects on pulse rising time are denied regarding the evidence acquired from this examination. A detailed report of this study is given in Chapter 6 of this thesis. This study inspired the design of a solid-state based topology that take advantage of both current and voltage sources. A series of switch-resistor-capacitor units at the output splits the produced voltage to lower levels, so it can be shared by the switches. A smart but complicated switching strategy is also designed to discharge the residual energy after each supply cycle. To prevent reverse power flow and to reduce the complexity of the control algorithm in this system, the resistors in common paths of units are substituted with diode rectifiers (switch-diode-capacitor). This modification not only gives the feasibility of stopping the load supply process to the supplier at any stage (and consequently saving energy), but also enables the converter to operate in a two-stroke mode with asymmetrical capacitors. The components’ determination and exchanging energy calculations are accomplished with respect to application specifications and demands. Both topologies were simply modelled and simulation studies have been carried out with the simplified models. Experimental assessments were also executed on implemented hardware and the approaches verified the initial analysis. Reports on details of both converters are thoroughly discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of the thesis. Conventional MGs have been recently modified to use solid-state transistors (i.e. Insulated gate bipolar transistors) instead of magnetic/gas switching devices. Resistive insulators previously used in their structures are substituted by diode rectifiers to adjust MGs for a proper voltage sharing. However, despite utilizing solid-state technology in MGs configurations, further design and control amendments can still be made to achieve an improved performance with fewer components. Considering a number of charging techniques, resonant phenomenon is adopted in a proposal to charge the capacitors. In addition to charging the capacitors at twice the input voltage, triggering switches at the moment at which the conducted current through switches is zero significantly reduces the switching losses. Another configuration is also introduced in this research for Marx topology based on commutation circuits that use a current source to charge the capacitors. According to this design, diode-capacitor units, each including two Marx stages, are connected in cascade through solid-state devices and aggregate the voltages across the capacitors to produce a high voltage pulse. The polarity of voltage across one capacitor in each unit is reversed in an intermediate mode by connecting the commutation circuit to the capacitor. The insulation of input side from load side is provided in this topology by disconnecting the load from the current source during the supply process. Furthermore, the number of required fast switching devices in both designs is reduced to half of the number used in a conventional MG; they are replaced with slower switches (such as Thyristors) that need simpler driving modules. In addition, the contributing switches in discharging paths are decreased to half; this decrease leads to a reduction in conduction losses. Associated models are simulated, and hardware tests are performed to verify the validity of proposed topologies. Chapters 4, 5 and 7 of the thesis present all relevant analysis and approaches according to these topologies.

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ID Code: 48137
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Zare, Firuz, Ghosh, Arindam, & Ledwich, Gerard
Keywords: capacitor-diode voltage multiplier (CDVM), commutation circuit, current and voltage sources, diode rectifiers, gate turn-off thyristor (GTO), H-bridge inverter, high voltage, insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), magnetic pulse compressor (MPC), marx generator (MG), metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSEFET), micro controller, multistage blumlein lines (MBL), plasma, positive buck-boost converter, pulse forming network (PFN), pulse width modulation (PWM), pulsed electric field (PEF), pulsed power, reactor, repetitively operation, resonant converter, rising and falling times, semiconductor technology, silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR), single shot, solid state technology, spark gap, switching transient, unipolar and bipolar modulation, voltage stress
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 18 Jan 2012 06:55
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2015 04:29

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