The results of the investigation of the breakdown characteristics of the planar “open” discharge and open discharge with the generation of counter-propagating electron beams under excitation by pulses with nanosecond rise fronts are presented. The amplitude parameters of current and voltage and temporal characteristics of breakdown in helium, neon, and argon were measured. It is demonstrated that the breakdown in the open discharge is characterized by considerably larger electric field strengths at the same development delays as in the avalanche discharge. A similarity criterion based on the photoemission mechanism of electron generation, according to which the discharge development delay is inversely proportional to the squared working gas pressure, is obtained.

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