John T. Bahns

Document Type


Patent Number

US Patent 5,335,238

Patent agency

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Publication Date



University of Iowa Research Foundation (Iowa City, IA, US)

Application Number


Date Filed


Total Pages

25 pages


A device and method for generating and guiding an electric discharge current including a first electrode, a second electrode and a material arranged between the first and second electrodes. The device and method involve the use of a laser for generating photons having energies equal to the energy between two excited electronic states of the material. The photons fill a region of the material from the first electrode through the material to the second electrode, ionizing the region of the material between the first and second electrodes. A voltage generating unit connected to the first and second electrodes applies a voltage between the first and second electrodes thereby generating the electric discharge which follows an ionized path in the region between the first and second electrodes. A solenoid is arranged around the housing so that the magnetic field which it produces is oriented approximately along the ionized path, thereby providing improved confinement of the electric discharge.