New Magnetron may help Defeat Enemy Electronics (Sept. 17, 2009) — Researchers at the University of Michigan invented a new type of magnetron that may be used to defeat enemy electronics.

university_of_michigan_logo_1The new class of magnetrons holds the potential for more compact Department of Defense microwave sources with faster start-up, as well as higher peak and average power.

A magnetron is a type of vacuum tube used as the frequency source in microwave ovens, radar systems and other high-power microwave circuits.

“This invention should make it possible to develop more compact magnetrons that operate at higher power and higher frequencies,” said Dr. Ron Gilgenbach, the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)-sponsored researcher at the University of Michigan.

The magnetron has been vital to military radar systems since World War II. Over time the basic design of the magnetron has not changed much. However, the University of Michigan researchers have revolutionized the design of both conventional and inverted magnetrons by expanding the cathode and anode area into a new type of magnetron, which permits higher current and larger area for heat dissipation in a more compact device.

The newly invented magnetron’s higher frequencies have the potential to improve radar resolution. Additionally, the more compact packaging of the new magnetron could encourage airborne applications.

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