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The pseudospark as an electron beam source



The pseudospark is a low-pressure, hollow-cathode gas discharge that occurs in a special discharge geometry (pseudospark chamber) in different kinds of gases. A modular pseudospark chamber was built to investigate this discharge type as a source of intense electron beams. At a breakdown voltage of 24 kV and a discharge current of 480 A, an electron beam of 106 A and 13 ns FWHM (full width at half maximum) was extracted through the anode hole into a drift chamber filled with low-pressure gas. Electrical parameters of the circuit, including the plasma channel, were evaluated by monitoring the discharge current waveform. First results of beam profile and emittance measurements of the produced electron beam are presented. At an axial distance of 9 cm behind the anode, an RMS emittance of 55 mm-mrad was measured. The results obtained make it possible to consider the pseudospark discharge a high-brightness electron beam source
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During its conductive phase, a pseudospark discharge is able to generate a low energy electron beam with a higher combined current density and brightness compared with electron beams formed from any other known type of electron source. In this paper, a configuration is proposed to post-accelerate an electron beam extracted from a single-gap pseudospark discharge cavity in order to achieve high quality high energy intense electron beams. The major advancement is that the triggering of the pseudospark discharge, the pseudospark discharge itself, and the post-accelerating of the electron beam are all driven by a single high voltage pulse. An electron beam with a beam current of ∼20 A, beam voltage of 40 kV, and duration of ∼180 ns has been generated using this structure. The beam energy can be adjusted through adjusting the amplitude of the voltage pulse and the operating voltage of the whole structure, which can be varied from 24 to 50 kV with an efficient triggering method under fixed gas pressure below ∼10 Pa.
The development of thermionic electron guns is of significant importance in electron beam technology. The paper is primarily concerned with the design, fabrication and experimentation of electron beam sources developed by our research group at electron beam sources development laboratory (EBSDL). This includes the development of directly and indirectly heated thermionic electron beam sources as well as high power line source electron guns. The important features of the optimized gun designs, their emission characteristics and performance are briefly outlined and their results are presented. These guns are currently being used for melting, evaporation, welding, heat treatment and research applications.
A directly heated thermionic high power electron beam source was constructed. The circular cross-section tungsten line cathode of length 140mm with diameter 0.9mm was used. Different gun design parameters were investigated and their results are discussed in detail. A uniform external magnetic field of 50G was employed for focusing of electron beam at 180° deflection. The gun delivers uniform emission current density throughout the emission surface. The dimensions of the electron beam at worksite were comparable with the line cathode. The beam power of 57kW was successfully achieved well below the saturation limit. The spring action mechanism was especially designed to avoid any cathode deformation. The gun design facilitates the reported length and emitting surface temperature of the cathode to be further increased to obtain higher emission values. The important gun features are operational reproducibility and long time stability. The evaporation rates for stainless steel have been achieved up to 1kg/hr. An area of (280×120mm2) could be heat treated with the line source electron beam in few milliseconds. The gun is extremely useful for melting, evaporation and heat treatment.
Laser-controlled beamfront accelerator experiments achieved gradients of up to 40 MV/m and proton acceleration to 18 MeV over 40 cm with a beam energy of 900 keV. Beamfront electric field degradiation requirements beam energy to be increased as the gradient is increased. An experiment with a beam energy of 1.5 MeV achieved a 60 MV/m gradient in a 100 cm distance, matching theoretical models. Experiments with psuedospark discharges achieved electron beams of 25 KV, 1000 A/sq. cm., 10 ns with 10(11) A/(m-rad)sq brightness. Theory indicates densities greater than 10(3) A/sq. cm. and brightness greater than 10(11) A/(m- rad)sq are achievable. (jhd)
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  • Ch Schultheiss
J. Christiansen, Ch. Schultheiss, Z. Phys. m, 35 (1979).
  • W L Mclaughlin
  • R M Uribe
  • A Miller
W.L. McLaughlin, R.M. Uribe, and A. Miller, Radiat. Phys. Chem. 22,333 (1983).