High-Power Microwave Research Facility


FLC Region

Security Lab



4555 Overlook Avenue S.W.




FUNCTION: Develops and evaluates the effectiveness of high-power microwave waveforms for the disruption of electronic systems. Included in the facility are an anechoic chamber, gigahertz transverse electromagentic (GTEM) cell, associated RF sources and instruments, and a 32-processor Beowulf cluster. High-power RF frequencies between 0.6 and 100 GHz may be used inside the anechoic chamber, while frequencies between 0.6 and 20 GHz may be used inside the GTEM cell. Simulation and analysis may be carried out with the Beowulf cluster.

DESCRIPTION: The facility is used to test the response of electronic systems to high-power RF waveforms. Primary interest is in the disruption of the function of a system using out-of-band waveforms, i.e., waveforms with frequenciesthat are not the normal operating frequencies of the device. One of the objectives is to find waveforms that may disrupt a large number of systems with power levels that are as low as possible. Positioners are available to displace device(s) under test or the radiating antenna to obtain angular information. The performance of the system is monitored to determine the portion of the system that was affected by the RF waveform. More invasive instrumentation may also be used to determine point of entry. The facility is also used to develop techniques that will harden systems to RF attack. Once RF susceptibilities and RF entry points are determined, hardening techniques may be evaluated to determine the level of protection provided.

INSTRUMENTATION: The facility contains sources, RF measurement equipment, and data acquisition instrumentation. Available RF sources include high-power traveling wave tubes (TWTs), solid-state devices, and magnetrons to provide both continuous and short-pulse high-power RF. Horn antennas covering multiple frequency ranges of interest are also available. Survey meters are available for measuring RF inside and outside the chamber along with a variety of power meters and associated probes. High-speed scopes and spectrum analyzers are also available for the measurement and analysis of waveforms. A network analyzer may also be used to carry out circuit measurements.


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