This entry into APELC’s blog series is a look-back at 2022 as well as a look forward at the exciting things happening in 2023. 2022 was a fantastic year for APELC marked by the sale and maturation of existing pulsed power systems along with the development of some new systems. This year, we are looking forward to much of the same, but hopefully with a few surprises forthcoming!
2022 YEAR IN REVIEW
APELC continued our work in the development of our Marx generator line of products by finalizing the design and delivery of some unique Pulse-Forming Network (PFN) Marx generators. These generators integrate a PFN topology into the Marx generator to create a relatively flat-top pulse. These generators are fantastic for sourcing a variety of e-beam loads and/or vacuum diodes, as they can maintain a maximum voltage over a longer duration before decaying. This is useful for High-Powered Microwave (HPM) loads, Flash X-ray and other loads requiring a flat-top pulse. An example of one such generator is provided below:
Figure 1 MG24-20C-2700PF-PFN PFN Marx and waveform
APELC has been working to support the commercial fusion industry through the development and construction of capacitive discharge units and our high-voltage quick disconnects. We are looking forward to additional work in this area in 2023!
APELC continues to find more markets for our quick disconnect connectors for high-voltage coaxial cables. During 2023, APELC added a number of new cable connectors to our catalog, including ones for:
- RG220 (updated design)
- QD cable splices (two QD female connectors on either end)
Figure 2 APELC QD-RG217 Connector
Latest MIL-STD-461G RS-105 System for testing against High-Altitude Nuclear EMP (HEMP)
APELC constructed and delivered our latest version of the 2m EUT RS-105 system to Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific in San Diego. This system utilizes a unique catenary system to suspend the upper wires in a manner that is easily set-up and torn down for storage. Advancements in both the pulsed power and controls were made including:
- Robust integrated trigger (highly resistant to damage from transients)
- PLC-based touch-screen control platform
- Updated electronic pneumatics control
Several photos and renderings of the system are provided below:
Figure 3 2m EUT RS-105 system
Figure 4 PLC touch-screen control unit for the 2m RS105 system
High-Power Wideband Test Platform for White Sands Missile Range
APELC completed construction and delivery of a Wideband test system used to test assets against potential directed-energy attacks. This platform included a single test-stand with an integrated Marx generator and 3 interchangeable antennas to cover a wide frequency range (hundreds of MHz). This system is capable of creating electric fields as high as 500 kV/m and burst-mode pulse repetition rates as high as 450 Hz! This was a significant achievement for APELC and one that will hopefully be a useful tool for many in the DoD Electromagnetic and Environmental Effects (E3) community. A sample image of the WB test system is provided below:
Figure 5 APELC Wideband Test System
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, we would like to introduce a few developments coming down the pipe in 2023. This promises to be an exceptional year for APELC, and we are looking forward to sharing developments as they progress. Below is a brief listing of some of the things to be on the lookout for in 2023:
- Flash X-ray systems: Through a licensing agreement with the Naval Research Labs, APELC has acquired the ability to create flash x-ray heads that are an ideal complement to our Marx generators. These systems can be made portable and compact with remote X-ray heads via high-voltage coaxial cable using our HV coaxial quick-disconnect connectors. We are planning to offer systems with energies ranging from 50keV to >2 MeV. Our Marx generators are ideal candidates for these systems given our excellent control over source impedance and jitter.
Figure 6 Example of an APELC MG40-3C-2700PF Marx Generator and Flash X-Ray load
- More connectors: Along with expanding our machining capability to encompass high-volume manufacturing of our QD connectors, we also plan to add more types of coaxial cables as well as additional voltage ratings. Our first step in this process will be an updated website to include more information on existing connectors.
Figure 7 Connector manufacturing at our ISO-9001:2015 facility
- Trigger generators: A need we hear from many of our customers is the need for a more dependable trigger generator for larger pulsed power systems. Our IR&D department is presently in the design phase of trigger generators having voltage ranges from 50-100kV.
Figure 8 APELC High Repetition Rate Trigger Generator
- Spark gaps: Our line of QD connectors started because we saw the usefulness of a technology we developed for our own systems as something our customers could use in their systems. Similarly, APELC has developed many different types of spark gaps over the years, from high-voltage to high-coulomb. In 2023, we are actively working to make these available as products! If you have an existing spark-gap need, feel free to reach out via the website and let us know how we can help.
Figure 9 Example rendering of an APELC spark-gap
- PPC 2023: The IEEE Pulsed Power Conference will be right down the road from us this year in San Antonio, TX, June 25-29th. We will be there as exhibitors (Booth #13 & 14) and presenters, and would like to even schedule some trips for our customers to come see our facility. Feel free to reach out in advance if you would like to meet up!