SBIR 95-1 SOLICITATION
A LOW POWER DISPENSER CATHODE ASSEMBLY FOR SPACE COMMUNICATIONS
The barium thermionic cathode is a critical component in high frequency
traveling wave tubes (TWTs) now used in space communications and defense
electronic systems. The need to increase the electrical efficiency and lower
the cost are two important factors driving further development of the TWT.
Dispenser cathodes typically require heater powers of 3W or more, which adds
to the electrical power losses and makes power (heat) dissipation more
One very important application for the dispenser cathode, which clearly
illustrates the need for lower heater power, is in the miniature TWT for the
"hybrid" amplifiers now under development by NASA and DoD.
This SBIR proposal offers a new dispenser cathode assembly that will
reduce by one half the heater power consumption of conventional dispenser
cathodes. The cathode construction will be simplified at the same time and
made more amenable to large scale production, without sacrificing mechanical
precision and reliability. Except for the cathode pellet, it will use only
materials and techniques that can be made and assembled on automatic
In Phase I, prototypes of the proposed cathode assembly will be built.
A comprehensive test of electrical and mechanical performance will be
undertaken to demonstrate feasibility and make comparisons with other
cathodes. Phase II will concentrate on further improvements in cathode
heater performance and thermal design and on completing the development of
production tooling and processes.
Potential Commercial Applications:
The proposed design will significantly lower the cost and power
consumption of dispenser cathodes. This will benefit not only government
but also greatly enhance opportunities for use in commercial products such
as CRTs for HDTV, medical monitors and projection TVs. The goal is a
dispenser cathode that consumes less than two watts and costs less than $20.00.
Name and Address of Offeror:
FDE Associates, 21070 SW Tile Flat Road, Beaverton/OR/97007-8739
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) &
Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Programs
Electronic Management System (EMS)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The SBIR/STTR EMS site is maintained by Steve
Hu, Hughes STX.
For comments and questions, contact
Updated: Feb. 7, 1996