Considerations in the Design of Electrostatic Accelerator Columns
Several generations of acceleration columns have been tested for use in the electrostatic electron accelerator at Houghton College. Early designs allowed charge to build up in the column causing the beam to be deflected. The previous design, which used a series of alternating of plastic and aluminum rings held together and sealed with vacuum epoxy, was too fragile and was prone to leak when evacuated. A new design eliminates many of these problems. An alternating series of 50.8 mm OD high-density polyethylene and stainless steel rings are compressed by six pre-stretched, ¼-inch threaded nylon rods. Glands machined into the plastic rings hold Viton o-rings that provide a good vacuum seal. The high voltage is supplied by a Van de Graaff generator mounted in-line with the accelerator column and electron gun. The entire assembly is supported by an insulating acrylic base, with rigid but adjustable joints.
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