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Vector Inversion Autotransformer

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flux capacitor is an iron-dielectric double-layer spiral. However, the SLAC designed vector inversion autotransformer is iron-less, using only thin copper foil and plastics.

Good news for your DIY treasure quest!

A 555 oscillator (with capacitors, resistors, etc.) a roll of household aluminum foil, Mylar sheet, toilet paper, copper sulfate, and boom! Bob's your iron-less transformer uncle.

A vector inversion autotransformer is detailed in Appendix C of Streamer Chamber Development, 1967 SLAC Report No. 74., Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford Uni., Standford, California. "This is a technical report prepared under contract AT(04-3)-515 for the USAEC, San Francisco Operations Office"

This device was built in a study to condition the pulse discharge of a Marx spark-gap generator, which was then feed to a plasma chamber to ignite a two-meter plasma streamer.

This spiral-copper device is iron-less. It consists of copper foil (2-5 thousandths of an inch thick), with polyethylene or Mylar sheet, also rolled with toilet paper vacuum-impregnated with CuSO4 solution. The crystal-paper is laid into the roll beside the copper foil to pad the thickness. The Mylar sheet is overlaid on the paper-foil layer. The layers are wound on a Lucite(R) cylinder.



"[...] The streamer chamber program carried out by Drs. D. Benaksas and R. Morrison at Stanford has provided us with the reassuring information that it is possible to operate streamer chambers in high magnetic fields and that it is practical to use these chambers in the photon beams produced by electron linacs."

Appendix C

"The copper sulfate* has the important function of distributing the field smoothly at the edges of the copper winding so that breakdown through the insulating sheets does not occur. [...] * The resistivity of the copper sulfate solution should be of the order 104 ohm-cm."

A Blumlein line is also mentioned in Appendix C as sometimes the load of the autotransformer output, which is a bank of dielectric storage banks that can be switched to charge iin parallel and discharge in series (like the Marx spark-gap pulse generator). This storage media is often a warehouse of coaxial cable.

Source SLAC Report:

F. Bulos, A. Odian, F. Villa, and D. Yount
June 1976
DOI: 10.2172/4271590
PDF: https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/4271590

Local copy

Streamer chamber development SLAC report no. 74, June 1976 4271590.pdf

An excerpt of three pages of Appendix C detailing construction