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Krytrons and sprytrons are capable of handling high-current high-voltage pulses, with very fast switching times, and constant, low jitter time delay between application of the trigger pulse and switching on.Krytrons can switch currents of up to about 3000 amperes and voltages up to about 5000 volts.A sprytron, also known as vacuum krytron or triggered vacuum switch (TVS), is a vacuum, rather than gas-filled, version.It is designed for use in environments with high levels of ionizing radiation, which might trigger a gas-filled krytron spuriously.The krytron was one of the earliest developments of the EG&G Corporation.Unlike most other gas switching tubes, the krytron conducts by means of an arc discharge, to handle very high voltages and currents (reaching several kilovolts and several kiloamperes), rather than the low-current glow discharge used in other thyratrons.It is also more immune to electromagnetic interference than gas filled tubes.Sprytrons lack the keepalive electrode and the preionization radioactive source.
The fourth is a control grid, usually wrapped around the anode, except for a small opening on its top.
Sprytrons are evacuated to hard vacuum, typically 0.001 Pa.
As kovar and other metals are somewhat permeable for hydrogen, especially during the 600 °C bake-out before evacuation and sealing, all external metal surfaces have to be plated with thick (25 micrometers or more) layer of soft gold.
Sprytrons can degrade in storage, by outgassing from their components, diffusion of gases (especially hydrogen) through the metal components, and gas leaks through the hermetic seals; an example tube manufactured with internal pressure of 0.001 Pa will exhibit spontaneous gap breakdowns when the pressure inside rises to 1 Pa.
Accelerated testing of storage life can be done by storing in increased ambient pressure, optionally with added helium, for leak testing, and increased temperature storage (150 °C) for outgassing testing. Sprytrons are usually manufactured as rugged metal/ceramic parts.