U.S. Particle Accelerator School
U.S. Particle Accelerator School
Education in Beam Physics and Accelerator Technology

Pulsed Power Engineering


Texas A&M University Public Partnership & Outreach

Course Name:

Pulsed Power Engineering


Craig Burkhart and Tony Beukers, SLAC National Accelerator Lab; David Anderson and Chris Pappas, SNS Oak Ridge National Lab; William Waldron, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Purpose and Audience
This graduate-level course introduces the techniques, technology and applications of pulsed power in the field of charged particle acceleration. It is appropriate for students, engineers, and scientists with a background in accelerator technology who are interested in furthering their understanding of pulsed high voltage techniques and power modulator design.


Students must have a sound undergraduate-level knowledge of electrical circuits; calculus, linear algebra, and solution of first- and second- order ordinary linear differential equations associated with circuit theory. Students must also be familiar with accelerator technology at the level of the USPAS course "Fundamentals of Accelerator Physics and Technology with Simulations and Measurements Lab".

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they meet the course prerequisites or have equivalent experience.

The students are expected to learn the fundamental topologies, technologies, tools and design rules employed in the design of pulsed-power modulators. Upon completion of this course, they will be able to apply this knowledge to the modulators commonly found in charged particle accelerator systems (e.g. klystron modulator).

Instructional Method
The course will consist of lecture sessions, computer labs and a comprehensive final examination. The lectures will introduce fundamental concepts, work practical examples and provide a forum for group discussions. The labs will provide an opportunity for the student to become familiar with commercial software tools (Quickfield – electrostatic field solver, LTspice – circuit solver) that are commonly used in pulsed power analysis. The software will be pre-installed on USPAS-provided cloud workstations, or students can install the software on their personal computers. There will be four homework sets, each applicable to preceding lectures. Help from instructors and teaching assistants will be available during evening problem sessions and as arranged on an individual basis.  The instructors will attempt to return graded homework promptly. There will be an open-book exam during the last day. 

Course Content
The course will first introduce the basic components used in accelerator pulsed power systems; capacitors, inductors, resistors, transmission lines, transformers, and switches. Subsequent lectures will focus on how these elements are combined to create common modulator circuit topologies. Solutions to the governing equations for these circuits will be discussed. The first computer labs will apply numerical solvers to more complex circuits.  Follow on lectures will cover high voltage design; constraints, techniques, and material properties.  Follow-on computer labs will introduce students to the use of numerical electromagnetic field solvers in high voltage design. Concluding lectures will focus on state-of-the-art solid state modulator topologies that are emerging for “next generation” applications.

Reading Requirements
“Pulsed Power Systems: Principles and Applications” by Hansjoachim Bluhm (2006) Springer Publishers (to be provided by the USPAS).  Additionally, the course will use lecture notes (see previous course lecture notes https://uspas.fnal.gov/materials/19NewMexico/NewMexico-PulsedPowerEng.shtml ), published papers and reports (to be provided by the USPAS). The course will also make use of numerous on-line resources; texts, formularies, and free student-version software, which the participants will download during the applicable sessions.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance as follows: homework assignments (40% of final grade), class participation (20% of final grade), computer labs (20% of final grade), and an in-class final exam (20% of final grade).

Indiana University course number: Physics 671, "Advanced Topics in Accelerator Physics"
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963, "U.S. Particle Accelerator School"
MIT course number: 8.790, "Accelerator Physics"