A study of the properties and applications of electrostatic charged particle oscillators

  • Wrenford John Thatcher

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This investigation originated from work by Dr. A.H. McIlraith of the National Physical Laboratory who, in 1966, described a new type of charged particle oscillator. This makes use of two equal cylindrical electrodes to constrain the particles in such a way that they follow extremely long oscillatory paths between the electrodes under the influence of an electrostatic field alone. The object of this work has been to study the principle of the oscillator in detail and to
investigate its properties and applications.
Any device which is capable of creating long electron trajectories has potential application in the field of ultra high vacuum technology. It was therefore considered that a critical review of the problems associated with the production
and measurement of ultra high vacuum was relevant in the initial stages of the work.
The oscillator has been applied with a considerable degree of success as a high energy electrostatic ion source. This offers several advantages over existing ion sources. It can be operated at much lower pressures without the need of a
magnetic field. The oscillator principle has also been applied as a thermionic ionization gauge and has been compared with other ionization gauges to pressures as low as 5 x 10- 11 torr.. This new gauge exhibited a number of advantages over most of the existing gauges. Finally the oscillator has been used in an evaporation ion pump and has exhibited fairly high pumping speeds for argon gas relative to those for nitrogen.
This investigation supports the original work of Dr. A.H. McIlraith and shows that his proposed oscillator has considerable potential in the fields of vacuum technology and electron physics.
Date of Award3 Jun 1970
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorR.K. Fitch (Supervisor)


  • particle oscillators
  • electrostatic

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