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Laxma R. Billa, M. Nadeem Akram and Xuyuan Chen*

University College Southeast Norway, Borre-3184, Norway

vacuum-electron traveling wave tube is carried out using

COMSOL Multiphysics software. A helix SWS is used as an

example to model and perform fully coupled 3D electromagnetics

cold-simulations and beam-wave interaction hot-simulations. The

preliminary COMSOL simulation results show good agreement

with calculations from CST studio software.

structure; Traveling wave tube

I. INTRODUCTION

Traveling wave tube is a prominent RF signal amplifier for

high-power and wide-bandwidth useful from microwave to

terahertz frequency range [1]. The design and analysis of

complex slow-wave structures (SWS) for efficient tube

performance relies on computer simulation software such as Figure 1. Schematic model of a unit period of helix slow-wave

CST studio, MAGIC3D [2] [3]. These software solve the structure.

Maxwells equations and the particle motion equations in fully

coupled way in the transient time-domain. COMSOL all the conductive surfaces with real conductive value of

Multiphysics [4] is a commercial finite element software 5.8107 (.m)-1 . For the APBN support rods, a relative

package designed to solve wide range of physical problems. To permittivity of 5.2 and a loss tangent of 1.510-4 is used. The

solve the coupled electromagnetic and electron particle physics mesh for all domains of the geometry is adaptively refined until

in the traveling wave tube devices, the authors have made an required accuracy is obtained.

attempt using the COMSOL Multiphysicss package modules.

In order to extract the cold-test parameters such as dispersion, B. Hot-test modeling

interaction impedance, and conductive and dielectric losses, the For the fully coupled beam-wave interaction simulations,

frequency domain electromagnetic physics of the software is we utilised transient electromagnetic waves module and

used. For the fully coupled hot-simulation, time-domain charged particle tracking module. The complete helix TWT

transient simulation is performed. structure has total length of 134 mm. A coaxial waveguide type

is designed for both the input port and output port of the helix

II. COMSOL MULTIPHYSICS MODELING OF HELIX TWT SWS. The characteristics impedance of the coaxial waveguide

is calculated according to the modeled waveguide dimensions.

A. Cold-test modeling

1) Electromagnetic Wave: The transient study of

Fig. 1 shows the schematic model of the unit periodic of a

Electromagnetic wave physics solves the time-domain

helix slow-wave structure. The geometry includes the helix

having an inner radius of 2.2 mm, width of 1.45 mm, thickness Maxwells wave equations. The coupling of charge particle

of 0.2 mm and pitch of 2.68 mm, three APBN support rods tracing physics to the Electromagnetic wave physics is done

each having width and height as 1.14 mm and 2.8 mm, using the Weak contribution node in COMSOL Multiphysics.

respectively, and outer conducting barrel [2]. A frequency It defines the exertion of a space charge of electron particles

domain electromagnetic interface physics in radio frequency on the electromagnetic field. A coaxial lumped port boundary

module of COMSOL Multiphysics is used on a unit period of condition is assinged to the input port with continuous wave

the helix. Floquet periodic boundary condition on both axial excitation and to the outport port for observing the output

sides and perfect electric boundary conditions on the surfaces wave.

of helix and conducting barrel are applied to get the 2) Charge Particle Tracing: The Charge particle tracing

Eigenfrequencies and the field components under loss-free

physics is available in the Particle tracing module of

condition. In order to calculate both the conductive and

dielectric losses, impedance boundary conditions are applied to COMSOL Multiphysics. It is employed to model the

trajectories of electron particles under the influence of

electromagnetic forces in a fully coupled manner. A circular

metal geometry is modeled as cathode for defining an emitting

surface of electron particles. The properties of electron mass

and charge are represented by Particle property node. Inlet

node specifies the emission of electron particles in normal

direction from the cathode boundary into the calculation

domain. Particle release time and number of particles per

release can be set in properties of this node, thus defining the

current of the beam. The initial velocity vector of the particles

can be defined as well. The particles are emitted transiently to

get the desired current. A longitudinal magnetic field for the

focusing the electron trajectory is defined with Magnetic force

node. Space charge density calculation node is used to include

the space charge effect in the interaction analysis. When the Figure 2. Dispersion plot of the dominant mode helix SWS.

particles hit the conductive boundaries, it is assumed to

disappear without generating any secondary electrons using

Wall node. The coupling of solution of Electromagnetic wave

physics to the Charge particle tracing physics is done with

both the Electric force and Magnetic force nodes. The Electric

force node specifies the Lorentz force F=eE (e=charge of

electron) of electric field (E) computed from the

Electromagnetic wave physics exerted on the electron

particles. Similarly, the Magnetic force F=qvB (v=velocity

of electron) node specifies Lorentz force of magnetic field (B)

computed from Electromagnetic wave physics influence on

the electron particles.

III. SIMULATION RESULTS

To verify the modeling and analysis of helix TWT using the

COMSOL Multiphysics software, all the results are compared

Figure 3. Normalized phase velocity of the dominant mode of the

with calculation from CST studio software taken as reference. helix SWS.

A. Cold-test Parameters

The Eigenfrequency study of frequency domain

Electromagnetic wave physics is performed on the unit period

of helix with sweeping the wavenumber between Floquet

boundaries. The wavenumber is defined as a function of phase

advance between periodic boundaries. The Eigenfrequency and

field components for corresponding phases are obtained. Fig. 2

shows the dispersion plot of the dominant mode of the helix

SWS frequency ranging from 0.3 GHz to 8.5 GHz. The phase

velocity is calculated for the mode of the dominant mode,

as shown in fig. 3. An interaction impedance (K) of the SWS is

given by:

2

E zn

K (1)

2E 2n Pwg

Figure 4. On-axis interaction impedance of the helix SWS.

electric field coefficient, spatial harmonic propagation constant 1

and time-average power flow, respectively. In the post

Ez n

P0 E z e j(En ) z dz (2)

processing of COMSOL Multiphysics simulation, Ezn is

obtained by spatial Fourier analysis of longitudinal electric And loss-free Pwg is calculated by integrating the time average

field over the on-axis pitch length P as given in equation (2). power flow across transvers section at the periodic boundary.

According to the equation (1) the on-axis interaction

impedance for fundamental mode of helix SWS is plotted in

Figure 5. Conductive and dielectric losses of the helix SWS. Figure 7. Voltage signal at the output port.

fig. 4. The same equation (1) is applied to calculate the electron particles is 0.16c (c is speed of light in free space), and

interaction impedance while post processing in CST the beam currnet is 10mA. The interaction of the RF signal and

microwave studio. The loss () including both the conductive electron particle trajectory is illustrated in fig. 6 as a snapshot

loss and dielectric loss is evaluated in the post processing of at t=2.1ns. The bunching of electron particles and the amplified

COMSOL simulation using equation (3) in dB per period. signal at the output port are observed. Fig. 7 shows voltage

signal at the output port of the helix TWT. A small discrepancy

of the obtained amplified output signal from both the

Pcl

D (3) COMSOL Multiphysics simulations and CST particle-in-cell

2 Pwg simulations is observed. This may be due to the difference in

where Pcl is the power lost in the lossy boundaries. But, in solver time steps of both softwares, difference in mesh size and

case of CST simulations losses are calculated using equation implemntation of the absorbing boundary conditions at the two

(4) in dB per period. ports.

The preliminary simulations show that COMSOL software

Z can be useful for analyzing traveling wave tubes, both for cold-

D (4) test and hot-test simulations. Moreover, coupled thermal

2QVg

analysis of high-power TWT device can also be performed

where is the angular Eigenfrequency, Q is the perturbed Q- using the heat-transfer module of COMSOL. That will be

factor and Vg is the group velocity. Fig. (5) shows the loss of performed in future work.

helix SWS in dB per period. The small discrepancy between

COMSOL Multiphysics and CST simulation results is due to

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

the different solving methods used for simulation of lossy

boundaries conditions. This project is supported by the Ministry of Education and

Research of Norway. The Research Council of Norway is

B. Hot-test Parameteres acknowledged for the support to the Norwegian Micro- and

An 8.855 GHz continuous sinusoidal wave with 50 mW Nano-fabrication facility, NorFab (197411/V30) and the

power is excited at the coaxial input port. The initial velocity of Norwegian Ph.D. Network on Nanotechnology for

Microsystems, Nano-Network (221860/F40).

REFERENCES

[1] J.H.Booske et.al , Vacuum electronic high power terahertz sources,

IEEE Trans. THz Sci. Technol., vol. 1, no.1, pp.54-75, Sep. 2011.

[2] CST STUDIO SUIT-2014, 3D EM Simulation software. Computer

Simulation Technology.

[3] Magnetic Insulation Code (MAGIC), Available:

http://www.magictoolsuite.com .

[4] Comsol, COMSOL Multiphysics: Version 5.2.

step of helix TWT, computed in COMSOL Multiphysics. Bunching of the

electron beam is visible.

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