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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

High-Performance Compact Pulsed Power Components

Location

Directed Energy Directorate, RD/Physical Sciences

RO# Location
13.10.02.B6934 Kirtland Air Force Base, NM 871175776

Advisers

Name E-mail Phone
Heidger, Susan L. susan.heidger@us.af.mil 505.853.4707

Description

The Air force is particuarly interested in compact, reliable pulsed power for high-power microwave (HPM) generation. These generators require either high peak power at relative low duty cycle and high field strengths, or high average power at high duty cycle and lower field strengths. Development of each specific HPM generator has its own unique challenges. However, all have in common problems associated with the exposure of various devices materials to extreme electromagnetic, thermal, and mechanical environments. This topic focuses on studying and utilizing new materials-dielectrics, insulators, metals, and interface coatings in the design of components of the compact pulsed power systems such as modulators, capacitors, switches, and anodes for cold cathode sources. Fundamental studies on compact pulsed power generation and innovative material and engineering techniques are needed to reduce the size and mass of these pulsed power components. An effective research effort in any of these component systems will require a combination of theory, experiment, and modeling.

An example of a research area that is within the scope of this topic is high energy density pulsed power capacitors. The energy density of pulsed power systems for HPM systems remains limited by the storage capabilities of the dielectric subsystem, which may consist of either capacitors or solid dielectric lines. Gigawatt-class HPM systems generally operate from megavolts to hundreds of kilovolts with pulse durations no more than several hundred nanoseconds long. The state-of-the-art for commercially available pulsed power capacitors approaches 2 J/cc. However, in practice repetition rate (as high as 100 pps), discharge rate < 0.1 microseconds and lifetime requirements for HPM systems limit the energy density of these capacitors to less than 0.5 J/cc. Advances in pulsed power switches, capacitors, and cold cathode anode materials are necessary to develop compact, reliable electrical power on directed energy systems as well as advanced air and space platforms.

 

Keywords:
Pulsed power; Dielectrics; Cold cathode; Pulsed power switches; Pulsed power capacitors; High-power microwaves;

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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