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Quenching electron runaway in positive high-voltage-impulse discharges in air by laser filaments

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Abstract

Strong hard (ε>100keV) x rays being observed from impulse atmospheric discharges with maximal voltages from U=0.5 to 0.9 MV just before the breakdown were completely stopped with the use of femtosecond-laser-filament plasma. Runaway electrons generating such x rays and being estimated to achieve their maximal energy, εU, near the positive electrode disappear if a laser filament plasma is ignited perpendicularly to the runaway near the positive electrode. A preheating mechanism for formation of the electron runaway in air is proposed.

©2012 Optical Society of America

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