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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fourth generation electron cyclotron resonance ion sources.

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The concepts and technical challenges related to developing a fourth generation electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) ion source with a rf frequency greater than 40 GHz and magnetic confinement fields greater than twice B(ECR) will be explored in this article. Based on the semiempirical frequency scaling of ECR plasma density with the square of operating frequency, there should be significant gains in performance over current third generation ECR ion sources, which operate at rf frequencies between 20 and 30 GHz. While the third generation ECR ion sources use NbTi superconducting solenoid and sextupole coils, the new sources will need to use different superconducting materials, such as Nb(3)Sn, to reach the required magnetic confinement, which scales linearly with rf frequency. Additional technical challenges include increased bremsstrahlung production, which may increase faster than the plasma density, bremsstrahlung heating of the cold mass, and the availability of high power continuous wave microwave sources at these frequencies. With each generation of ECR ion sources, there are new challenges to be mastered, but the potential for higher performance and reduced cost of the associated accelerator continues to make this a promising avenue for development.

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