Electromagnetic, Laser, Spark Discharge, Microwave, Electromagnetic Pulse


From past experiments conducted with high intensity lasers, it has been known for some time that laser matter interactions result in the emission of short, transient electromagnetic pulses. Previous investigations into laser generated electromagnetic pulses provide basic information regarding frequencies where such pulses may be present, along with the time duration of the pulses. Such investigations have also demonstrated a number of measurement techniques in which basic information on the pulses may be obtained. The purpose of this current investigation is to obtain a more thorough description and understands of electromagnetic pulses generated for laser matter interaction. To this end, spatial radiation patterns emanating from various laser excited matter sources was predicted using antenna theory for far field radiators. Experimentally, it is the intention of this investigation to gather comprehensive time and frequency domain data on laser matter generated electromagnetic pulses using a number of specific laser targets. Radiation detection techniques using broadband, calibrated EMC horn antennas were devised. A unique measurement system known as an inverse superhetereodyne receiver was designed, tested and demonstrated. An experimental setup using such instrumentation was established. Using the above instrumentation and experimental setup should yield comprehensive time and frequency domain data over a spectra range of 1-40 GHz and with a time resolution of 50 ps. Because the experimental system employed is calibrated, measurements can be corresponded to incident electromagnetic fields. Several tests were conducted to ensure the proper operation of experimental apparatus. A modulation test was conducted on the inverse superhetereodyne receiver to ensure that the experimentally observed signals appeared when and where predicted within the receiver's bandwidth. The experimental setup was used to measure radiation emitted from an electrostatic discharge source of known distance and discharge voltage. Frequency domain data from the discharges were collected and compiled using a Matlab application ultimately intended to measure laser matter interaction generated electromagnetic pulses, resulting in a compiled frequency domain description comprising 1-17 GHz. The inverse Fourier transform was used to retrieve the time domain response from the compiled data. The discharge gaps characteristics where systematically altered as to allow a parametric study of the compiled data. The discharge measurements demonstrate the measurement system's ability to analyze unknown, short duration; broadband microwave signals.


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Graduation Date





Richardson, Martin


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

January 2006

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Physics Commons