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85 THz Vacuum-Based Power Amplifier
Mark A. Basten, John C. Tucek, David A. Gallagher, and Kenneth E. Kreischer
Electronic Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rolling Meadows, IL, 60008

Robert Mihailovich
Teledyne Scientific and Imaging LLC, Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360
Abstract: A 0.850 THz vacuum electronic power amplifier
capable of >100mW output power is being developed at
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. The compact
power amplifier is based on a DRIE-fabricated folded
waveguide slow-wave circuit, together with a high current
density thermionic cathode, a high field permanent magnet
solenoid, and a single-stage depressed collector for overall
device efficiency. The new 0.85 THz power amplifier
design is based on a 0.67 THz amplifier that achieved over
100mW of output power with 21.5 dB of gain, 15 GHz of
operational bandwidth, a collector efficiency of 93% and
an overall device efficiency of 0.44%.

data-rate communications, airborne collision avoidance
systems, and high resolution radar imaging for standoff
concealed weapon detection.
The new 0.85 THz power amplifier is based on a previous
design at 0.67 THz which demonstrated over 100mW of


Keywords: Terahertz; submillimeter wave; vacuum
electronics; high-resolution imaging.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES) is
developing compact, integrated power amplifier modules
operating from 0.22 THz to 1.05 THz as part of the
DARPA HiFive and THz Electronics programs. Vacuum
electronics (VE) based high power sources in the
submillimeter and THz regimes are envisioned as
subcomponents for applications including covert, high


Power (at FWG output)

141 mW


26.5 dB


0.54 %


+/- 14 GHz

Pin (at FWG input)

0.2 mW


9.70 kV


3.1 mA

Circuit current density

311 A/cm2

Beam transmission

75 %

Circuit length

2.34 cm

Table 1. 0.85 THz FWG Power Amplifier
output power with a gain of 21.5 dB and instantaneous
bandwidth of 15 GHz. Overall device efficiency was
0.44% when operated with a single-stage depressed
collector with 93% collection efficiency. The performance
of this device is discussed in greater detail in a
corresponding presentation.
Table 1 provides the design parameters for the 0.85 THz
power amplifier. The interaction circuit is a foldedwaveguide (FWG) slow-wave structure manufactured via a
deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) process of silicon-oninsulator (SOI) wafers (see Fig. 1). This process has been
demonstrated to provide precise control of the FWG depth
along the length of the circuit, thereby providing for effective
control of the wave phase velocity and efficient interaction
with the electron beam. OFHC copper is electroplated onto
the FWG and the beam tunnel halves to a thickness that is
several multiples of the RF skin depth. The FWG circuit is
made in two halves and bonded at the E-plane midpoint to

Figure 1. FWG circuit and transition fabricated with
DRIE using a double SOI process.

978-1-4673-0369-9/12/$31.00 © 2012 IEEE


Figure 2.S. The radial apertures provide a 47o by 158o angular opening for coupling RF to/from the power amplifier. The design of this amplifier is based on a previous device which operated from 0. Approved for public release.685 THz and demonstrated >100 mW of transmitted output power at 0.S.85 THz design we plan to use a dual-SOI wafer to act as an etch-stop for the FWG depth and beam tunnel. distribution unlimited. John Albrecht and Dr. and high beam transmission with minimal loss through the FWG circuit to the collector. Dev Palmer for their support of this program. NGES would specifically like to acknowledge Dr. shown in Fig. the U.640 – 0.85 THz power amplifier comprised of a vacuum electronic amplifier with a microfabricated FWG circuit is being developed. Army Research Laboratory and the U. For the 0. 2.656 THz.5cm for beam focusing and transport.5cm flat-field region with low transverse field content (< 20G) for beam focusing and transport through the interaction circuit. Acknowledgements This material is based upon work supported by. In the 0. Critical to the operation of a THz amplifier are the proper electron beam formation at the cathode.6 in. and the maximum outer diameter is 3. The 9kG radial-access magnet provides a flatfield region of 2.7 in. or in part by. including a high-field radial-access permanent magnet solenoid. a 9kG axial field over a 2. and will incorporate new techniques for improved circuit fabrication and low loss input/output power coupling.67 THz design the rectangular beam tunnel was formed via a two-level DRIE process. This magnet provides Conclusions A compact 0. The axial length of the magnet is 3. 40 . The dual-SOI process is expected to improve the dimensional control of the beam tunnel through the length of the circuit and reduce phase errors. The new power amplifier will utilize some of the same components as the earlier design. This is achieved using a high axial field permanent magnet solenoid with minimal transverse fields.67 THz amplifier.form the integrated waveguide. beam focusing. Army Research Office under Contract HR0011-09-C-0061 as part of the DARPA THz Electronics program. The design of low-loss circuitry to transmit drive power to the input of the FWG circuit and from the output of the FWG circuit will be discussed. For the initial prototype device we plan to utilize the radial-access magnet that was used for the 0.