n interesting history on the development of the amazing microwave oven appeared in this publication in December 2005 by W. Hammack [1]. Subsequent letters in response have since appeared [2], [3]. Following the comments by Arnold M. Bucksbaum [3] this correspondence provides some additional information to his item “Reducing Leakage from Microwave Oven Doors.” He states that leakage occurs, and he raises a very important public safety issue. The extremely important health issue and its solution may not have been addressed adequately before,


Kiyo Tomiyasu
Kiyo Tomiyasu is retired, residing in Pomona, California. E-mail: k.tomiyasu@ieee.org.

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MMM.2007.910948


1527-3342/08/$25.00©2008 IEEE

February 2008

The open side of the slotted guide was facing me. The first obvious approach would be to use a metallic gasket to seal the door to the chamber. a simple slotted narrow-wall waveguide section was built for test. An annular waveguide ring type of rotary joint was conceived to permit multiple radars stacked on a single mast. For the conceptual rotary joint. long circumferential slots on the other narrow wall were necessary. Such a gasket can fatigue and fail.772. The transmitter was switched on. But then a door is necessary to place food in the chamber. and this is commonly used for a sliding detector to measure the voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) of the internal fields. Early Relevant Microwave Experiments In 1949 my first task at Sperry Gyroscope Company was the development of a high-power rotary joint for a multichannel scanning radar system for the U.such as why it occurs with microwave ovens or how this could be circumvented.402 SERRATED CHOKE SYSTEM FOR ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVEGUIDE Filed Nov. This led to the concept of numerous quarter-wavelength open-ended stubs fastened at and perpendicular to the slot to provide a short circuit across the slot. A high-power magnetron transmitter was available. It is well known that a cut or narrow slot at the center of a broad wall of a rectangular waveguide will not radiate. I then wondered what caused microwave power to radiate from the slot. Instead of stubs in pairs. The performance of this configuration was confirmed by Gabriel [6]. This configuration. 22. Serrated choke for a slot on the narrow wall of a rectangular waveguide. 27. Since no data were found for this configuration. Nov. and it produced a strong electric field across the slot and radiated. If the oven is totally enclosed in a complete metal chamber. Navy. one ring fastened to the mast.S. The magnetron was quickly switched off. The gasket may become covered with food spillage and become ineffective. Clearly a noncontacting door or seal becomes essential for a safe and reliable microwave oven. and its operation could be confirmed by a rise in temperature in a high-power dummy load.S. 1950 31 28 29 27 22 24 25 Source 26 59 55 73 51 65 57 63 61 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 2 Load 23 21 53 68 69 67 71 66 41 47 73 71 71 85 89 83 91 47 43 45 81 41 43 45 49 49 87 Figure 1. 1956 KIYO TOMIYASU 2. The broad walls of the ring waveguides are oriented parallel to the mast axis. Each joint comprises two equal-diameter rectangular waveguide rings coupled together. February 2008 77 . This slotted waveguide test section was inserted between transmitter and dummy load. is described in a U. Power radiated from the slot because of the curl of the magnetic field bulging out through the slot. Maxwell’s field equations provided the answer. patent [4] filed in 1950 and subsequently in a paper [5]. An effective solution to this very important safety issue is a microwave “choke” to be discussed in this brief article. there is no safety problem. The conceptual rotary joint required circumferential cuts or slots along the narrow walls of each rectangular waveguide ring. I was approached by an oven manufacturer to provide some guidance on solving a microwave oven leakage problem that would be practical and meet very important health and safety issues. a single row of stubs facing a ground plane perpendicular to the slot was found to be just as effective. called a serrated choke. and suddenly I felt heat on my abdomen. Near the middle of the slotted guide I stood with one hand on the dummy load to feel any rise in temperature. The total length of waveguide was about six feet. The principal objective was to mount a number of scanning high-power radars on a single mast to avoid reflections from nearby structures that otherwise would render the radars ineffective over small angular regions. and the second ring supporting the radar to be rotated.

produces heat. Tomiyasu.. Hammack. In a conventional electric oven. 7. a Calrod heating element carries high current. the choke is hidden from view by an opaque plastic strip near the oven cavity periphery.. I have heard but not able to confirm that nearly all microwave ovens in the world use this choke design.” IEEE Microwave Mag. It is described in [7]. Food with moisture can be heated but not the china plate under it. “The greatest discovery since fire [microwave oven]. The choke was adopted for oven manufacture since it addressed feasibility.” IEEE Microwave Mag.” IRE Trans. Patent 2. Dec. 27. “Serrated choke system for electromagnetic waveguide. This choke faced an image plane to provide low impedance at the slot. [6] W. and issued as Patent No. no. 1956. IRE. I was approached by an oven manufacturer to provide some guidance on solving a microwave oven leakage problem that would be practical and meet very important health and safety issues.” IEEE Microwave Mag. Dec. Subsequent Development of the Serrated Choke Subsequent to filing the U. From the 1956 paper [5]. very reliable. both referenced above. [7] K. The simplified embodiment is shown in Figure 6 in that paper and shown here in Figure 2. Apr. June 2006. This greatly simplified choke design was recommended to the manufacturer. A copy of the first page of the patent is shown Figure 1. pp. was built. MTT-7. [3] A. no. I recalled my patent filed in 1950 and the subsequent paper published in 1956.This choke design was found to be economical to manufacture. pp.M. Bucksbaum. 2006. and cooks food from the outside by thermal diffusion.J. no. The Serrated Choke for a New Rotary Joint The serrated choke provided the needed low impedance at the circumferential. Tomiyasu. choke patent [4] expired. pp. Microwave Theory Tech. “Design note on a serrated choke. 78 February 2008 .F. References [1] W.. A U.402 six years later on 27 November 1956 [4]. and was tested for functionality. p. 1956. 33–36. Bolus [5].S.. to provide a noncontacting “electrical” seal between oven chamber and door. Microwave Oven Leakage Problem In the mid 1970s after the U. 482. [5] K. 44.S. Microwave Theory Tech. Tomiyasu and J.772. 6. 10–11. Jan. very reliable. In current microwave ovens. “Characteristics of a new serrated choke.. 548–553. Hammack. 62–70. pp. 2. vol. Gabriel.” Proc. vol. vol.772. Bolus. narrow-wall slots of two coupled annular waveguide rings for a rotary joint. a very good candidate for the seal was the choke mentioned above and shown in Figure 2. 1956. “Reducing leakage from microwave oven doors. Nov. vol. 1959. The strip can be easily cleaned to remove food spillage that would inhibit choke effectiveness. 4. 1–10. Microwave cooking is different. [2] J.J. This choke design was found to be economical to manufacture. 4. pp. vol.402.S.S. Oct. “A new annular waveguide rotary joint. It may not be common knowledge that heat in the food is generated from absorption of microwave power principally by water molecules in the food. Several serrated chokes are combined to form a rectangular cross-section choke. patent of just the serrated choke was filed on 22 November 1950.” IRE Trans. choke patent in 1950. Osepchuck and W. [4] K. 2005. MTT-4. vol.” U. This simplification is described in a paper titled “Characteristics of a new serrated choke” by Kiyo Tomiyasu and J. and very tolerant of the spacing between door and oven chamber. safety issues. A new rotary joint employing the serrated choke was constructed and operated successfully. 2. and economy. Mounting Bracket Serrated Chokes Length Width 1 λg 16 0. “Microwave oven history—A “heated” exchange.125” Figure 2.S. This was called a rectangular cross-section choke. This effort resulted in considerable simplicity of the choke by combining several serrations or tines with a single “tab” having a width and length approximately equal to one-quarter wavelength. additional development work was undertaken to simplify the choke design and to facilitate its manufacture. and very tolerant of the spacing between door and oven chamber. It exhibited the very low leakage sought to meet health and safety considerations. 7.