Spontaneous pulse shortening occurring in a relativistic backward wave oscillator (BWO) at gigawatt power levels is studied in experiment and theory. It is experimentally demonstrated that this phenomenon is accompanied by formation of an explosive-emission plasma at the surface of the corrugated slow-wave structure (SWS). Termination of microwave emission is explained by the increase of the BWO starting current from the absorption of the operating electromagnetic wave by electrons emitted from the plasma, whereas the intensity of the absorption radically increases owing to the presence of positive ions emitted from the plasma. Application of oil-free vacuum and electrochemical polishing of the SWS surface in an X-band BWO allowed generation of 3-GW, 26-ns microwave pulses with an energy of approx. 80 J, thereby demonstrating pulse lengthening by a factor of four.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics