Travelling wave tubes (TWTs) are vacuum electronics devices used as microwave-band amplifiers in defence, medical and space applications.
While solid state amplifier technologies continuously improve, demand for higher frequency and power handling means the most demanding applications always require TWTs.
At higher frequencies, TWT components must be smaller, and higher powers require TWTs to be made more precisely.
At present, the capability to accurately measure positioning and alignment of components has become a limiting factor in TMD’s build processes.
This project aims to to develop an accurate and repeatable method of measuring the position and alignment of the control grid – a key component of the electron gun.
This grid determines the initial trajectory and focus of the high-intensity electron beam which allows TWTs to achieve their unparalleled amplification effect.
Micron-level variation in grid positioning can adversely affect TWT performance, potentially resulting in failure.
Development of a successful technique will reduce costs, build time and scrap value, but will also unlock further capability allowing TWTs of more ambitious design to be built.