Hawk Facility


FLC Region

Security Lab



4555 Overlook Avenue S.W.




FUNCTION: Produces a high-current (750 kA) pulse with a microsecond rise time into a vacuum inductor. The energy stored in the inductor is transferred to a radiation or particle-beam load by using a plasma opening switch (POS). These inductive energy store (IES) generators represent a new approach for generating high-power pulses for Navy, DoD, and Department of Energy applications, including nuclear weapons effects simulation, inertial confinement fusion, and dense Z-pinch X-ray and neutron sources. The device is used primarily as a research testbed for IES technology and for fundamental research into the physics of radiation source and POS operation.

DESCRIPTION: The facility consists of four Marx banks in an oil-filled tank, connected in parallel, with an output voltage of 720 kV when the capacitors are charged to 90 kV each. The Marx bank stores 300 kJ of electrical energy. The discharge of the capacitors into the system inductance (700 nH) results in a sinusoidal current with a 1.2 μs quarter period and an amplitude of 750 kA. A POS is used to conduct the generator current during most of this rise time (typically for about 1 μs) while the energy is transferred from the capacitors to the circuit inductance. The POS then opens quickly (in less than 100 ns) allowing the current to flow to a downstream load, such as an electron-beam diode, for example. The facility is surrounded by thick concrete shielding to contain X rays produced as a result of the high-power pulses.

INSTRUMENTATION: Diagnostics for the generator and POS are monitored in a shielded room located outside the radiation area. Diagnostics include sophisticated computer-controlled transient recorders to record analog signals, various optical, X-ray, and nuclear activation monitors, and plasma diagnostics, such as interferometers and charged particle detectors for measuring quantities of interest in the POS.


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