Harmonic operation of gyro-devices has been proposed as a way to lower the magnetic field required to a level feasible with normal (i.e., non-superconducting) magnets. The problem is, however, that gyrotron efficiency drops dramatically at harmonics greater than two, making development of such a device of limited utility. A promising solution to this quandary is the development of a related device, the peniotron, which is believed capable of achieving both high efficiency and harmonic operation resulting in a reduction of the required axial magnetic field.
Although the physics of the peniotron interaction, including its high electronic conversion efficiency, has been understood and experimentally verified, demonstration of characteristics consistent with a practical device has been more elusive. This is the goal of this effort—specifically, to demonstrate high device efficiency (defined as the actual power output as a fraction of the electron beam power) with an electron beam generated by a compact cusp electron gun consistent in size and performance with other microwave vacuum electron devices.
The cavity design process revealed that the π/2 mode couples easily to the output circular waveguide. In fact, the transition to circular waveguide produced such a low reflection coefficient that an iris was needed at the cavity output to achieve the desired Q. Integral couplers were also designed to couple directly into the slotted cavity for diagnostic purposes for simplicity in this proof-of-principle physics experiment. This eliminated the need for a high-power circular vacuum window and allowed the diagnostic coupling to be made in standard WR-28 rectangular waveguide.
Although mode competition did prevent the second-harmonic peniotron mode from being tuned over its entire range of magnetic field, the peniotron mode was stable over a range sufficient to allow useful experimental data to be obtained. However, another unexpected problem which occurred during execution of the experiment was persistent arcing along the cusp gun high-voltage ceramic which prevented the gun from being operated at its full design voltage of 70 kV. The measured output power and efficiency was then reduced to about a third of that originally predicted. That is, a maximum peak power of approximately 35 kW and maximum efficiency of 18% was achieved.
Significant post-test analysis revealed that the reduced operating voltage of the cusp gun degraded the operation of the device in several inter-related ways. First, the lower voltage shifted the desired peniotron interaction to a lower interaction magnetic field such that the maximum power which could have been achieved was right at the point of greatest interference from the competing mode. Secondly, the lower gun voltage resulted in a correspondingly lower beam power to drive the interaction. Finally, the beam optics of the cusp gun was designed for operation at 70 kV such that reduced beam voltage resulted in degradation of the beam quality. Nonetheless, the viability of the device was proven as the measured output power and device efficiency still represent unprecedented performance for a harmonic peniotron.
Finally, analysis of the cavity design and competing mode characteristics indicate that a simple re-design of the cavity will result in a comparable design in which the competing fourth-harmonic gyrotron mode is removed. This design entails a slight change to the slot depth and vane angle of the four-vane cavity. Other parameters would not necessarily need to be changed and the modified device should achieve virtually the same results (power and efficiency) as originally predicted. Furthermore, with the competing mode removed (and assuming the gun arcing can be suppressed), the higher current available from the cusp gun could be exploited to achieve even higher output power than originally predicted. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)