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MAGNETRONS

SPIN-TUNED MICROWAVE PULSE GENERATOR

A magnetron is a microwave oscillator used in among other applications radars and missile seekers.

Saab has been developing and manufacturing magnetrons since the 1950s. In the 1960s Saab Bofors Dynamics invented the Spin-tuned Magnetron and the frequency agility radar based on this magnetron.

The first frequency agility radar, Mareld, with spin-tuned magnetrons was delivered in 1961. The frequency agility radar is much more difficult to intercept and to jam and this radar was extensively licensed to a number of companies throughout the world.

Within the vacuum system, the Spin-tuned Magnetron has a rotor or spinner, which causes the tuning frequency to vary sinusoidally with time. By applying a random pulse from the modulator, a randomly distributed output frequency is created within a band of 5-8 % of the nominal frequency.

A pulsed magnetron is a microwave oscillator used as the transmitting element in radar, missile seekers etc. A CW (continuous wave) magnetron is used as the heating element in civilian applications such as microwave ovens.

The magnetron is built up around a cluster of cavities maintained in a vacuum. A heated cathode in the middle emits electrons, which are accelerated by a high voltage electric field and are deflected by a built-in permanent magnetic field so that they interact with the cavities producing a microwave field, the frequency of which depends on the cavity size.

The high voltage is provided by an external high voltage generator. Magnetrons are either pulsed or CW depending on the design, and in the case of a pulsed magnetron, the high voltage generator (modulator) defines the pulse shape.

As the original inventor of the spin-tuned magnetron and the related frequency agility radar, Since we are also using the magnetrons in in-house products, we are committed to producing magnetrons of the highest quality for many years to come.

All magnetrons produced today have a design that uses ceramics instead of glass and a built-in getter that offers a long life, including the possibility to refresh the magnetron after long-term storage and in the case of having been used in an  incorrectly set-up radar.

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