Title:
Apparatus And Method For Reducing Operating Voltage In Gas Discharge Devices

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Abstract
The present invention is a system and method for reducing the voltage necessary to produce a glow discharge in a gas. This is done by fabricating the cathode in a gas discharge device out of a conductive material that is permeable to the subject gas rather than out of a solid material, as in the prior art. Fabricating the cathode with a permeable material rather than a solid material increases the surface area of the cathode and provides the gas with greater access to the cathode's surface. Increasing the surface area of the cathode increases the total discharge current which can be extracted from the cathode without increasing the extraction voltage. This allows the gas discharge device to be operated at a lower voltage than is possible using a cathode fabricated of a solid material.
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6/29/1999
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