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Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 57, No. 3, September 2010, pp.


Three-dimensional Particle-in-cell Simulations of a Millimeter-wave Reex Klystron Activated by Secondary Electrons

Seok-Gy Jeon, Jung-Il Kim and Geun-Ju Kim
Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), Ansan 426-170 (Received 8 April 2010, in nal form 6 August 2010) We report a reex klystron in which an embedded planar cold cathode is used to generate a secondary electron beam. By using secondary electron cathode with a high secondary electron yield, the number of secondary electrons can be suciently increased and adjusted to activate the reex klystron. In our three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations, oscillation of the device was demonstrated at 100 GHz when using a secondary electron cathode with a maximum yield of 20 while a primary electron beam with a current density less than 5 A/cm2 was irradiated to create secondary electrons. The current density of the primary electron beam is achievable with typical eld emission cathodes if they are equipped with an electron beam focusing lens, and a maximum yield of 20 can be obtained if magnesium oxide is used for the secondary electron emission.
PACS numbers: 84.40.-x, 85.45.-w, 52.65.Rr, 79.20.Hx Keywords: Millimeter wave, Vacuum microelectronics, Particle-in-cell simulation, Secondary electron. DOI: 10.3938/jkps.57.489


Electromagnetic radiation in the millimeter to submillimeter (or terahertz) wavelength range [1,2] has received considerable attention because of the unique advantages of these wavelengths in applications such as high-data-rate wireless communication, space research, surveillance, and nondestructive testing [3]. However, development of a compact, mobile, high-power source remains a challenging task that has prevented practical use of the technology. Miniaturized vacuum electron devices (VEDs) fabricated with advanced micro-fabrication technology [48] are regarded as one of the most promising candidates that satisfy the requirements for a practical power source. One such VED is the reex klystron oscillator activated by a cold cathode composed of eld emitters such as carbon nanotube bundles [911]. It has several advantages over other VEDs: a short beam tunnel, no requirement for a magnet, and control of the startoscillation current via the repeller voltage [46]. However, two crucial drawbacks of the reex klystron need to be addressed to make the device operate over the entire frequency range. One drawback of increasing the resonant frequency is the reduced power caused by the scaled-down dimensions of the circuit. Compared with other VEDs [12,13] that use high-energy electrons, the reex klystron takes advantage of miniaturization and uses low energy (or moderate energy) electrons; thus,

it suers more from the eects of scaling down the dimensions. The other drawback is the excessively high current density requirement for a cold cathode, which is quite challenging because the beam tunnel area should be reduced following inverse-square frequency scaling. Promising solutions for overcoming the power problem [5,6] include higher-order modes and multiple electronbeam operation using a photonic crystal [14,15] cavity resonator. However, until now, overcoming the current density problem has remained a challenging task despite the considerable advances in eld emitters. Therefore, we propose a reex klystron that can be activated by using a planar cold cathode generating secondary electrons with a high secondary electron yield ( ), dened as the number of secondary electrons over the number of primary electrons [16,17], while preserving the simplicity of the geometric and electric congurations by making the primary and the secondary electrons intersect along the same spatial path. In our study of the novel scheme, electromagnetic wave generation at the resonant frequency of 100 GHz could be demonstrated by using the threedimensional (3D) particle-in-cell (PIC) code MAGIC3D [18], even when the intrinsic and wide velocity (energy) spread of the secondary electrons at the moment of their creation was fully considered. For the simulations, as a specic example for the secondary emitter, a magnesiumoxide (MgO) cathode with a max of 20 was chosen. It was irradiated with a primary electron beam having a maximum current density of 5 A/cm2 , which is reasonable for typical eld emitters equipped with an electron beam focusing lens [7].


Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 57, No. 3, September 2010

II. THREE-DIMENSIONAL PARTICEL-IN-CELL SIMULATIONS Figure 1 is a schematic of a miniaturized reex klystron activated by using a eld emitter cold cathode [46]. Electrons emitted from the eld emitters pass a pair of metal grids in a TM010 mode cavity resonator; then, random uctuations in the beam current activate an oscillating electromagnetic eld inside the cavity. At the same time, the electrons undergo velocity modulation from the oscillating potential dierence between the grids. The small and instantaneous momentum perturbations between the grids eventually give rise to electron bunches via the so-called ballistic bunching process as the electrons are decelerated and reected into the cavity resonator by the repeller. If the electron bunches return to the cavity with the correct round-trip transit time, they are exposed to a decelerating electric eld, which causes energy transfer from the kinetic energy of the electron bunches to the electromagnetic energy inside the cavity. Such an energy transfer expedites the electron bunching. Eventually, series of electron bunches in which the frequency coincides with the cavity resonance frequency become dominant, and a steady state is being reached as long as the electron bunches transfer sucient electromagnetic energy to compensate for the losses in the cavity resonator as well as for the external loading. Figure 2 shows a schematic of a reex klystron activated by secondary electrons. After passing through the repeller and the grids, electrons emitted from the eld emitters collide with the secondary electron emitter with an energy of e(V2 + V3 - V1 ). The secondary electron yield is given by = max sx /(s - 1 + xs ), where x = Vi /Vmax (the yield is maximum when the impact energy is eV max ) [19]. Therefore, if the impact energy e(V2 + V3 - V1 ) is the same as Vmax , secondary electrons multiplied by the maximum yield of max will be generated and accelerated toward the cavity resonator by the voltage V1 . At their moment of escape from the surface of the secondary electron emitter, the secondary electrons have an energy distribution that can be expressed as [20] f (Es ) = C exp {ln(Es /E0 )}2 , 2 2 (1)

Fig. 1. (Color online) Schematic of a reex klystron activated by using a eld emitter cathode.

Fig. 2. (Color online) Schematic of a reex klystron activated by using a secondary electron beam. The secondary electron beam is created by using a primary electron beam emitted from eld emitters.

where C is the normalization constant, Es is the secondary electron energy, Eo is the secondary electron energy at which the curve shows a maximum, and is the standard deviation, which is normally around 1.0 eV and depends on the properties of the material used for the secondary electron emitter. If V 1 is larger than V 2 , the secondary electrons will be forced to reverse their traveling direction before they overpass through the repeller. Hereafter, we consider the same process of energy transfer described in Fig. 1. Based on the physical parameters listed in Table 1, we carried out 3D PIC simulations to investigate the reex klystron depicted in Fig. 2. In the simulations, the pri-

mary electron emission and acceleration by the voltage V3 were omitted by injecting the primary electrons into the simulation region at the repeller surface with a given energy of eV 3 . The maximum current of the primary electron beam was 3 mA, which corresponds to a current density of 5 A/cm2 . According to the transmission ratio of the grids and max , the maximum current density of the secondary electron beam was about 150 A/cm2 , which is impractically high if it has to be extracted from typical eld emitter cathodes without a electron beam focusing lens having a quite high compression ratio [7]. Figure 3 shows an instantaneous view of the electron distribution obtained from the 3D PIC simulations after the energy transfer between the electron beam and the electromagnetic wave had been stabilized. The stripe present in the secondary electron beam due to the density dierence in electrons caused by the velocity modulation and the ballistic bunching process mentioned before. The electrode located at the bottom is a repeller at which a primary electron beam, assuming the same energy of

Three-dimensional Particle-in-cell Simulations of a Millimeter-wave Seok-Gy Jeon et al.


Fig. 5. (Color online) Time-dependent change of the voltage measured between cavity grids.

Fig. 3. (Color online) Spatial distribution of electrons calculated by using a three-dimensional particle-in-cell code. The stripe in the secondary electron beam indicates dense electron bunches which occur when the device is activated at the resonance frequency of the cavity.

Fig. 6. (Color online) FFT result of the voltage between cavity grids when the energy transfer is stabilized.

Fig. 4. (Color online) Phase space diagram for the axial velocity of electrons. Secondary electrons undergo the ballistic bunching process while reversing the travelling direction.

eV 3 (885 eV in case of Fig. 3) for each electron, is injected into the simulation space with an assumption that the electrons emitted from eld emitters pass though a beam grid in the repeller. Because V2 = 1.615 kV and V1 = 1 kV in the case of Fig. 3, primary electrons hit the secondary electron cathode located at the top with an energy of 1.5 keV (= Vmax ). From the secondary electron yield relation, twenty (= max ) secondary electrons will be generated by one primary electron. However, to stop the increase in the particle number in the simulation space from being too sudden, we assigned a weight factor of ve to the charge of the macro-particles of secondary

electrons. That is, one macro-particle of secondary electrons has an electronic charge ve times larger than one macro-particle of primary electrons. The axial velocity modulation depicted in Fig. 4 shows the travel of each electron and the evaluation of electron bunches in the secondary electron beam more clearly. Here, it is worthwhile to note that the electron bunching process appearing in the secondary electron beam is exactly the same as that observed in a conventiontype reex klystron oscillator [5] . The formation of electron bunches starts because of the voltage initially induced between the grids, and the electron density in the electron bunches increases until the voltage increase stops, as shown in Fig. 5. Figure 6 shows the FFT (fast Fourier transform) result obtained by measuring the voltage when the magnitude of the alternating voltage is stabilized. The dominant peak showing an over 50 dB dierence from the other peaks represents the desired TM010 mode, whose frequency is 102.6 GHz. The power transferred from the secondary electron beam was estimated by measuring the surface power loss in the cavity wall because there was no external coupling of the cavity in our simulations. The transferred power as a function of the


Journal of the Korean Physical Society, Vol. 57, No. 3, September 2010

Table 1. Physical parameters of 3D PIC simulations. Maximum secondary electron yield (max ) Primary electron energy for max (Vmax ) Primary electron beam radius Cavity Ohmic Q (conductivity = 5.0 107 S/m) Resonance frequency of cavity Transmission ratio of grids Voltage for secondary electron acceleration (V1 ) Eo and of secondary electrons 20 1.5 keV 130 m 520 102.6 GHz 66.7% 1 kV 2.2 eV, 0.85 eV

Fig. 7. (Color online) Power transferred from a secondary electron beam when every secondary electron has the same emission energy of 2.2 eV (hollow dots) or the emission energy of the secondary electrons is determined by a probability rule (solid dots).

Fig. 8. Variations of the resonance frequency and the output power corresponding to the variation of the repeller voltage.

increase in the primary electron current is given in Fig. 7. The hollow dots were obtained with an assumption of no velocity spread for the secondary electrons at the moment of their creation. In those cases, an emission energy of 2.2 eV was assigned to each secondary electrons. For the solid dots including a velocity spread, Eo and in Eq. (1) were given as 2.2 eV and 0.85 eV, respectively. Those values are t to MgO (magnesium oxide) [20]. For the Gaussian distribution given by Eq. (1) , the average emission energy is Eo exp(1.5 2 ). Therefore, in our simulations, the average emission energy was about 6.5 eV, which represents about a three-fold increase over the emission energy for the zero-velocity-spread case. As a result, less than 20% decrease in the transferred power was estimated as shown in Fig. 7, which was caused by the intrinsic velocity spread of secondary electrons. When the primary current was 1.5 mA, with an assumption of no velocity spread, the supplied electric power and the maximum energy conversion eciency were about 30 W and 0.56%, respectively, which were simply estimated by using the parameters in Table 1 and Fig 7. Here, it should be noted that the maximum eciency will be the same even in a conventional reex klystron activated by primary electrons if primary electrons have no velocity

spread. Therefore, we can conclude that the inuence of the velocity spread in the secondary electrons will be comparable to the inuence of the thermal velocity spread in conventional thermionic cathodes. A conventional reex klystron oscillator has a frequency bandwidth that can be controlled by using the variation in the repeller voltage [5]. In our model, such a characteristic could also be observed. The variation in the resonance frequency and the instantaneously accompanying variation in the output power corresponding to the variation of the repeller voltage, 2, are presented in Fig. 8. For the simulations, a constant of 2.0 mA for the primary electron current was assigned, with basically the same parameters in Table 1. The estimated -3dB (decibel) bandwidth dened as the dierence between the minimum and the maximum frequency, which correspond to half the maximum output power, is about 0.15 GHz. Here, it should be remarked that the necessary condition for the impact energy of primary electrons to maximize the secondary electron emission, e(V 2 + V3 V1 ) = eV max , was not available because both V 1 and V3 were constants. Therefore, we guess that the bandwidth is decreased with decreasing current of the secondary electron beam, which can be estimated from the secondary electron yield curve [9].

Three-dimensional Particle-in-cell Simulations of a Millimeter-wave Seok-Gy Jeon et al.


III. CONCLUSION In conclusion, a novel miniaturized reex klystron oscillator was proposed using a computer-simulated theoretical demonstration. Instead of using an electron beam generated by a eld emission cold cathode in which the current density is generally lower than required by several orders of magnitude, a secondary electron beam generated by an embedded planar electrode was used to generate electromagnetic power. In the proposed scheme, due to the use of a secondary electron beam in which the current can be multiplied by max (twenty in this study), the operation frequency of the oscillator can be extended to the millimeter-wave (or potentially to sub-millimeter) region. Despite the intrinsic and wide velocity spread of the secondary electrons at the moment of their creation, the hypothesis was veried by the 3D PIC simulations at 100 GHz.

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