Solid-State Thyratron Replacement (2016)

Thyratrons are common components of many klystron modulators. Requiring replacement approximately every 10,000 hours as well as periodic maintenance and adjustment, they represent a high recurring cost for accelerators (and other installations), which are designed to operate for much longer periods of time. A solid-state replacement for these thyratron will improve performance, decrease operating costs, improve reliability, and increase the life of the klystron.

Diversified Technologies, Inc. (DTI) is developing a solid-state switch as an alternative to legacy thyratron equipment. The initial unit produced under this SBIR will be a direct replacement for the thyratrons currently being used at SLAC. The switch will meet or exceed all performance metrics of the existing thyratrons, including physical size and packaging, to allow for immediate installation at SLAC.

In Phase I, DTI successfully demonstrated the technology for a solid-state thyratron-replacement switch assembly. We have demonstrated full operating capability and arc handling for both individual IGBTs and a representative matrix of IGBTs, and peak-to-peak pulse jitter of 1.5 ns, which is five times shorter than typical thyratron performance, and will help stabilize of the LCLS beam. In Phase II, DTI will optimize the thyratron replacement switch assembly for low manufacturing cost, and will demonstrate the expected reliability through extensive testing under accelerated conditions. Commercial Applications/Benefits: The switch being developed under this SBIR will be a direct replacement of SLACs existing thyratrons-----meeting or exceeding pulse requirements and fitting within the existing modulator cabinet-----enabling seamless integration. Once this device is proven, DTI will be able to inexpensively adjust operating characteristics to meet the needs of other facilities, as this is governed simply by the number and orientation (series vs. parallel) of the IGBTs.