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I've tried the circuit in this article. It works very well and I've obtained 2ns clear pulses at 150 V (the main issue was to find the right avalanche voltage, which turned out to be 150-160V for my 2n3904 transistor).

While the basic principles of operation in this circuit is clear for me, I does not fully understand the role of the resistor R3. In what sense is it supposed to "bias" the transistor?

Also, is it possible to use a TVS or another avalanche type diode in place of the transistor?

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