High Pressure Rinse of High Voltage Electrodes

This weekly win is about removing sub micron-sized particulates in the air we breathe from the Ra EDM electrodes, whose electrical performance can be degraded by the presence of these particulates, with a process called the high pressure rinse. The high pressure rinse is a critical step in decontaminating electrodes that we’ve adopted from accelerator science, where it’s been shown that high pressure-rinsing accelerator radiofrequency (RF) cavities significantly improve their efficiency.  I’ve been working with Accelerator Systems engineers at FRIB on creating a clean room environment at Spinlab so that we can install electrodes in our high voltage vacuum chamber without introducing particle contamination (see Adam and me constructing a portable clean room here:


Thanks to discussions with the Accelerator Systems folks and a lot of design work from our undergraduate Adam Powers, we now have the ability to remove and install components such as the Ra EDM electrodes from vacuum chambers in particle-free environments.

On Wednesday, May 15th I participated in a high pressure rinse of the Ra EDM electrodes.  The procedure took place at FRIB. I worked with chemical engineer Daniel Victory to rinse the Ra EDM electrodes at 1200 PSI with ultra-pure water. In the image you can see 8 of our Niobium and Titanium electrodes mounted on an acrylic tube:


In the high pressure rinse, we secured the tube to a lazy Susan platform, which slowly rotated as a high pressure wand in the middle blasted the electrodes with water (check out the wand in action here:

The electrodes were allowed to dry and have been packaged in the clean room. We are eager to test the improvement in electrode high voltage performance after reinstalling them into our conditioning apparatus at Spinlab! -RR