High Voltage Conditioning

Charging of the terminal is accomplished by three NEC “Pelletron” chains.  Uniform distribution of the column and accelerator tube potential was originally accomplished by means of a corona grading system.  Resistors replaced the corona points in June 1994 to improve grading system homogeneity, and to allow accelerator operation at very low voltages, down to 1 MV, to accommodate requirements of the astrophysics program. 

Conditioning of the column and tube are required to achieve high terminal potentials.  During conditioning, a configurable series of conducting and insulating rods is inserted to short sections of the accelerator column, thereby reducing stored energy and the possibility of spark damage.   Sparks are minimized as much as possible since the energy of a 25 MV spark is approximately 200 kilojoules.

The accelerator column is divided into twenty-seven units, each designed to hold a voltage of one megavolt.  A central service platform can be rigged during maintenance periods to allow access to each unit and to the electronics located in the dead sections. 

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This page was last updated Sept. 1 2000
Send questions or comments to Ray Juras or Martha Meigs