High-Power Electrodynamics (HPE)
The High-Power Electrodynamics (AOT-HPE) Group applies accelerator and beam technologies to national-security-directed energy missions. AOT-HPE has three programmatic thrusts:
To maintain a vigorous and robust technical base for addressing DOE and DoD needs, the group’s project portfolio is balanced between exploratory research, infrastructure development, and programmatic deliverables for sponsors. Funding is roughly 25% from the Lab’s Directed Research and Development Program, 65% from DoD, and 10% from DOE.
Technology Focus Areas
AOT-HPE is the Laboratory’s main vehicle for applying accelerator-based technologies to directed-energy mission needs. The group recognizes that many directed-energy missions are enabled by compact high-brightness electron accelerators and mm-wave and THz technologies.
To develop technology for future emerging directed-energy missions, the group is investing in mm-wave and THz technologies. This work is also supported by radar, spectroscopy, and communications needs. The group is applying advanced beam technology and RF engineering to 100 GHz to 300 GHz high-power, sheet-beam driven, planar travelling-wave tubes.
The group’s technology strengths include
Because normal materials do not have natural responses in the mm and sub-mm regimes, new materials need to be developed to make high-power mm-wave and THz components, such as photonic band gap (PBG) structures and other meta-materials.
Major Group Projects
The group’s largest project is developing FEL technology for the US Navy. We are conducting high-power RF testing on the first-ever normal conducting cw photoinjector. This type of photoinjector is an enabling technology for achieving MW-class FELs, required for shipboard defense.
In addition, we are planning for beam emission tests from the photoinjector and helping industrial partners design prototypes for the Navy INP program. The group has a collection of smaller HPM projects that together form a strong HPM program. The goal of HPM missions is to disable targeted electronics through irradiation of microwaves with a sufficient power density and pulse format.
The group’s HPM projects include effects testing for both the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) and DARPA and high-power source development for JNLWD. The third major project area for the group is compact radiography being developed for both DOE NNSA and DTRA. The goal for these projects is to develop man-portable radiography systems to interrogate suspicious targets.