This device enables maintenance to be carried out on a Radio Frequency (RF) waveguide system while keeping, at the same time, part of it under vacuum.
In order to maintain one part of a RF system evacuated while doing installation and maintenance on the other part, dielectric windows are normally used. However, high-power RF can often breakdown this window, leading to loss of vacuum and increased maintenance costs overall.
The technology disclosed here is a valve which can create a vacuum on one side and atmospheric pressure on the other. When the valve is in the open position, RF transmission can take place across the gap with only minimal loss of power. When the valve is in the closed position, maintenance work can be carried out on the atmospheric pressure side, whilst retaining the vacuum on the other. This enables a flexible and reliable maintenance system — without significant loss of waveguide performance.
The RF waveguide vacuum valve was developed for CERN’s Compact Linear Collider test facility.