Frequency response of atmospheric pressure gas breakdown in micro/nanogaps

Abbas Semnani, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Ayyaswamy Venkattraman, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Alina A. Alexeenko, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Dimitrios Peroulis, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Copyright 2013 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Appl. Phys. Lett. 103, 063102 (2013); and may be found at The following article has been submitted to/accepted by Applied Physics Letters. Copyright 2013.Abbas Semnani; Ayyaswamy Venkattraman; Alina A. Alexeenko and Dimitrios Peroulis. This article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


In this paper, we study gas breakdown in micro/nanogaps at atmospheric pressure from low RF to high millimeter band. For gaps larger than about 10 mu m, the breakdown voltage agrees with macroscale vacuum experiments, exhibiting a sharp decrease at a critical frequency, due to transition between the boundary- and diffusion-controlled regimes, and a gradual increase at very high frequencies as a result of inefficient energy transfer by field. For sub-micron gaps, a much lower breakdown is obtained almost independent of frequency because of the dominance of field emission. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology