Miniature W-band Dielectric Traveling-Wave Tube

Period of Performance: 08/01/2003 - 01/31/2004


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Microwave Technologies, Inc.
Burke, VA 22015
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

George Mason University
4400 University Drive MS 4C6
Fairfax, VA 22030
Institution POC


This project will involve the prototype development of a miniature W-band dielectric traveling-wave tube (DTWT) that will provide short-wavelength radiation for the network-centric Objective Force. The DTWT is based on the novel interaction between a small-diameter electron beam and the electromagnetic fields of a traveling wave inside a very compact dielectric waveguide. The dielectric waveguide is used to slow down the wave and replaces the less efficient helix structures used in conventional traveling-wave tubes. A pioneering step in this development will be the use of solid-state microfabrication techniques for the fabrication of the DTWT components. Our initial studies show the DTWT to be twice as efficient as conventional helix traveling-wave tubes and less sensitive to shock and vibration, making the DTWT ideal for rough battlespace environments. Detailed numerical and computational analyses of this concept are proposed in order to evaluate key issues such as bandwidth, maximum output power, efficiency and gain. Once fully developed, the DTWT should be capable of replacing conventional traveling-wave tubes in telecommunication systems for future space applications by offering substantial improvements over its counterparts in size, weight, and especially efficiency. If successful, the dielectric traveling-wave tube should efficiently provide coherent high-frequency radiation for many civilian and military communication and radio sensing applications. Of particular interest are millimeter-wave sources for airborne radar, satellite communications, wireless television and communications, cellular telephones, and the microwave power module.