Industry News

The First International Vacuum Electronics Conference in Review

A summary of IVEC 2000 held May 2-4 in Monterey, CA

Carol L. Kory
Analex Corp.
Cleveland, OH

With nearly 400 participants from industry, government and academia from almost 20 countries, the first International Vacuum Electronics Conference (IVEC) burst to life in Monterey, CA on May 2 to 4, 2000. IVEC 2000, sponsored by the IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS), attracted the largest vacuum electronics audience in decades. While the explosive growth of electronics in the last half century has been in the area of solid state devices, vacuum devices are still widely used for displays and for high power and high frequency applications, such as satellite communications, radar and electronic countermeasures. "The response to IVEC 2000 is a clear indication of the continued vitality of vacuum electronics," said Jim Dayton, Director of Technology for Hughes Electron Dynamics, Torrance, CA, who served as General Chair of IVEC 2000.

The conference commenced with a Plenary Session led by Dayton, who welcomed participants to Monterey and then introduced members of the IEEE EDS Technical Committee on Vacuum Devices, who organized the conference. Three speakers who focused on "The Status of the Vacuum Electronics Industry" followed. Jon Christensen of HED, representing the US Electronic Industry Association, spoke for the US. Takao Kageyama of NEC followed by giving an overview of the industry in Asia. Georges Faillon of Thomson Tubes Electroniques concluded with a description of the situation in Europe. All three described an industry that is experiencing nearly flat military sales, but dynamic growth in commercial opportunities.

The next three speakers addressed more specifically "New Commercial Opportunities in Vacuum Electronics." Ivor Brodie of SRI International spoke on what has become the most ubiquitous vacuum device today, the display tube. Brodie particularly emphasized the prospects for conventional cathode ray tube technology to be overtaken by thin panel displays, many of which will continue to be comprised of vacuum tubes using field emission cathodes. Walter Wood of Xicom Technology described growing markets for vacuum devices in terrestrial communications both for satellite uplinks and for wireless telephony and communications systems. The final speaker on this topic, Kevin Mallon of Loral Space Systems, described how the traveling wave tube (TWT) has become the dominant amplifier for commercial space communications because of its reliability, efficiency and power handling capabilities. With the assistance of the TWT, he forecasted that with the implementation of digital radio in the near future, a traveler driving from Los Angeles to New York City could listen to the same radio station for the duration of the trip.

The final topic in the Plenary Session was a panel discussion on "Training the Next Generation," moderated by Neville Luhmann of the University of California at Davis. Panelists included Carter Armstrong of Litton Systems, Robert Barker of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Kwo Ray Chu of National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and Michael Petelin of the Institute of Applied Science, Novgorod, Russia. The panelists described successful programs merging the needs of academic institutions, industry and government to provide students with credible training and realistic career opportunities. The audience reaction to the panel discussion indicated that the hiring outlook in the vacuum electronics industry parallels its recent dynamic growth.

The highly successful IVEC is scheduled to repeat every other year in the US, rotating to Europe and Asia every fourth year. IVEC 2001, sponsored by the European Space Agency, will be held in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, on April 2 to 4. In 2002, IVEC will return to Monterey, and in 2003 it will be held in Korea. IVEC evolved from the Monterey Power Tube Conference, which had been sponsored by the US Department of Defense since 1978 and was formerly restricted to US participants only.

Vacuum electronics is a thriving and exciting field as evidenced by the technical excellence of over 170 oral and poster presentations. Several of the conference sessions began with invited presentations. The titles and authors of these keynote addresses are listed below:

"The Future of Klystrons" by G. Caryotakis of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

"Crossed-field Devices: Where Are We and Options for the Future" by L. Vanzant of the Naval Surface Warfare Center

"Development of Ultra-linear TWTs for Telecommunications Applications" by D. Goebel, R. Liou and W. Menninger of Hughes Electron Dynamics

"Development of Design Tools for Vacuum Electron Devices" by B. Levush of the Naval Research Laboratory; T. Antonsen, Jr. of the University of Maryland; and A. Mondelli, D. Chernin and J. Petillo of SAIC

"Application of Field-emitter Arrays to Microwave Power Amplifiers" by D. Whaley, B. Gannon and C. Smith of Northrop Grumman Corp.; and C. Spindt of SRI International

"First-pass TWT Design Success" by R. Benton, C. Chong, W. Menninger, C. Thorington, X. Zhai, D. Komm and J. Dayton, Jr. of Hughes Electron Dynamics

"High Power Millimeter-wave Gyro-amplifiers: Technological Advances and Applications" by B. Danly of the Naval Research Laboratory

"Development of High Average Power W-band Gyro-amplifiers for Radar Applications" by M. Blank, K. Felch, B. James, P. Borchard, P. Cahalan and       T. Chu of Communications and Power Industries; B. Danly, J. Calame and B. Levush of Naval Research Laboratory; K. Nguyen of KN Research; J. Petillo of SAIC; T. Hargreaves, R. True, A. Theiss and G. Good of Litton Electron Devices; and W. Lawson and T. Antonsen, Jr. of the University of Maryland

"High Average-power Microwave Sources for Fusion Research" by T.V. George of the Department of Energy

"Development and Application of European High Power CW Gyrotrons for ECRH Experiments" by R. Magne, C. Darbos, A. Barbuti, Ph. Cara, J. Clary and D. Roux of the Association Euratom-CEA; S. Alberti, J. Hogge and M. Tran of the Association Euratom-Confédération Suisse; F. Blanchard, C. Dubrovin, E. Giguet, D. Gil, G. LeCloarec, Y. LeGoff, F Legrand and Ch. Liévin of Thomson Tubes Electroniques; and M. Thumm of Association Euratom-FZK

Additional technical highlights are summarized at Selected extended articles from IVEC 2000 will be published in January 2001 in a special issue of IEEE Transaction on Electron Devices.

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