Focused cathode design to reduce anode heating during vircator operation

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Virtual cathode oscillators, or vircators, are a type of high power microwave device which operates based on the instability of a virtual cathode, or cloud of electrons, which forms when electron current injected into the drift tube exceeds the space charge limited current within the drift tube. Anode heating by the electron beam during vircator operation ultimately limits achievable pulse lengths, repetition rates, and the duration of burst mode operation. This article discusses a novel cathode design that focuses electrons through holes in the anode, thus significantly reducing anode heating by the electrons emitted from the cathode during the first transit through the A-K gap. Reflexing electrons continue to deposit energy on the anode; however, the discussed minimization of anode heating by main beam electrons has the potential to enable higher repetition rates as well as efficiency and longer diode lifetime. A simulation study of this type of cathode design illustrates possible advantages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103113
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


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