The problem of RF gradient limits

J. Norem, Z. Insepov, D. Huang, S. Mahalingam, S. Veitzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


We describe breakdown in rf accelerator cavities in terms of a number of mechanisms. We divide the breakdown process into three stages: 1) we model surface failure using molecular dynamics of fracture caused by electrostatic tensile stress, 2) the ionization and plasma growth is modeled using a particle in cell code, 3) we model surface damage by assuming unipolar arcing. Although unipolar arcs are strictly defined with equipotential boundaries, we find that the cold, dense plasma in contact with the surface produces very small Debye lengths and very high electric fields over a large area, and these high fields produce strong erosion mechanisms, primarily self sputtering, compatible with crater formation.We compare this model with arcs in tokamaks, plasma ablation, electron beam welding, micrometeorite impacts, and other examples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeutrino Factories, Superbeams and Beta Beams - 11th International Workshop on Neutrino Factories, Superbeams, and Beta Beams, NuFact09
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780735407633
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event11th International Workshop on Neutrino Factories, Superbeams and Beta Beams, NuFact09 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jul 20 2009Jul 25 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other11th International Workshop on Neutrino Factories, Superbeams and Beta Beams, NuFact09
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


  • Arcs
  • Gradient limits
  • Rf breakdown
  • Unipolar arcs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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