Conduction modes of GaAs photoconductive semiconductor switch (PCSS) and their conditions are expounded. Laser diode and high-power picosecond Nd:YAG lasers are used as triggers for nonlinear mode and quasi-linear mode respectively in high-power conduction experiment. GaAs PCSS`s failure mechanisms and factors influencing lifetime in both modes are analyzed. It is found that the power density of laser at trigger time determines in which mode GaAs PCSS operates. Low-power laser triggers a nonlinear mode conduction in which GaAs PCSS`s lifetime is only 103, while high-power laser triggers a quasi-linear mode conduction in which GaAs PCSS`s lifetime is up to 105. According to the findings, the compact high-power pulsed power system based on mass of GaAs PCSSs demands for miniature high-power laser generators.
A kind of laser diode with high power and short duration is described in this paper. The laser diode is used for triggering gallium arsenide photoconductive semiconductor switch (GaAs PCSS) in the experiment. The driver of the laser diode is based on RF MOSFET and it provides an ultra-fast pulse current, which has the rise-time, FWHM and peak current are 4ns, 17ns and 130A, respectively. The characteristics of the laser diode have been researched, including laser pulse waveform, optical field distribution, and limiting drive current. Using a combination of two laser diodes, the PCSS has a better performance than being triggered by single laser diode in the experiment.