Wear-less Trigger Method for Marx Generators in Repetitive Operation


Martin Sack, Christoph Schultheiss, and Hans-Joachim Bluhm

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Postfach 3640, D-76021 Karlsruhe, Germany


For many industrial applications, e.g. the fragmentation of minerals 1 or the electroporation of roots and fruits 2,3, Marx generators running at repetition rates of several ten hertz are required. As reliability and long-term operation are design goals of first order, so far these Marx generators were designed to be free running without the possibility of triggering. Never the less, some future applications require the exact synchronization of several Marx generators connected to the same load. The two well known trigger methods via a three-electrode spark gap or a trigatron-type spark gap both have the disadvantage of a relatively short component lifetime in repetitive operation. Therefore, a new, wear-less trigger method has been developed and tested. The principle of operation is based on the idea of superimposing a voltage pulse to the charging voltage of the first stage causing an over-voltage breakdown of the 1st-stage's spark gap. The paper describes the implementation into an existing Marx-design and some preliminary experimental results.


1.      H. Bluhm, W. Frey, H. Giese, P. Hoppé, C. Schultheiß, R. Sträßner, “Application of Pulsed HV Discharges to Material Fragmentation and Recycling”, IEEE Trans. on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol.7 No.5, Oct. 2000, pp 625-636.

2.      C. Schultheiss, H.-J. Bluhm and H.-G. Mayer, “Development of an Industrial Electroporation Device”, 25th International Power Modulator Symposium, June 30- July 3, 2002, pp. 563-566.

3.      C. Schultheiss, H.-J. Bluhm, H.-G. Mayer, M. Kern, “Industrial-Scale Electroporation of Plant Material Using High Repetition Rate Marx Generators”, Workshop on Dielectric Properties and Electrical Breakdown of Biological Membranes, CEIDP 2002, Cancun, Mexico.



The work is supported by BEO, Projektträger Biologie, Energie, Umwelt des Bundes­ministeri­ums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) und des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft (BMWi) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.