Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the European Particle Accelerator Conference 2008



Conference Name

European Particle Accelerator Conference 2008


Microscopic images of the surfaces of metallic electrodes used in high-pressure gas-filled 805 MHz RF cavity experiments [1] have been used to investigate the mechanism of RF breakdown [2]. The images show evidence for melting and boiling in small regions of ∼10 micron diameter on tungsten, molybdenum, and beryllium electrode surfaces. In these experiments, the dense hydrogen gas in the cavity prevents electrons or ions from being accelerated to high enough energy to participate in the breakdown process so that the only important variables are the fields and the metallic surfaces. The distributions of breakdown remnants on the electrode surfaces are compared to the maximum surface gradient E predicted by an ANSYS model of the cavity. The local surface density of spark remnants, proportional to the probability of breakdown, shows a strong exponential dependence on the maximum gradient, which is reminiscent of Fowler-Nordheim behavior of electron emission from a cold cathode. New simulation results have shown good agreement with the breakdown behaviour of the hydrogen gas in the Paschen region and have suggested improved behaviour with the addition of trace dopants such as SF6 [3]. Present efforts are to extend the computer model to include electrode breakdown phenomena and to use scanning tunnelling microscopy to search for work function differences between the conditioned and unconditioned parts of the electrodes.


Copyright © 2008 by JACoW, Geneva, Switzerland.

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported license.

Original Publication Citation

BastaniNejad, M., Elmustafa, A. A., Ankenbrandt, C. M., Moretti, A., Popovic, M., Yonehara, K., . . . Welch, D. R. (2008). Studies of breakdown in a pressurized RF cavity. Paper presented at the European Particle Accelerator Conference 2008, Magazzini del Cotone, Genoa, Italy. Conference Paper retrieved from