Electron Beam and Laser Beam Machining B K Nanda Source: NTM , Pandey& Shah
Fig. shows the schematic representation of an electron beam gun, which is the heart of any electron beam machining facility. The basic functions of any electron beam gun are to generate free electrons at the cathode, accelerate them to a sufficiently high velocity and to focus them over a small spot size. Further, the beam needs to be maneuvered if required by the gun. The cathode is generally made of tungsten or tantalum. Such cathode filaments are heated, often inductively, to a temperature of around 25000C. Such heating leads to thermo-ionic emission of electrons, which is further enhanced by maintaining very low vacuum within the chamber of the electron beam gun. Moreover, this cathode cartridge is highly negatively biased so that the thermo-ionic electrons are strongly repelled away form the cathode. This cathode is often in the form of a cartridge so that it can be changed very quickly to reduce down time in case of failure.
Just after the cathode, there is an annular bias grid. A high negative bias is applied to this grid so that the electrons generated by this cathode do not diverge and approach the next element, the annular anode, in the form of a beam. The annular anode now attracts the electron beam and gradually gets accelerated. As they leave the anode section, the electrons may achieve a velocity as high as half the velocity of light. The nature of biasing just after the cathode controls the flow of electrons and the biased grid is used as a switch to operate the electron beam gun in pulsed mode. After the anode, the electron beam passes through a series of magnetic lenses and apertures. The magnetic lenses shape the beam and try to reduce the divergence. Apertures on the other hand allow only the convergent electrons to pass and capture the divergent low energy electrons from the fringes. This way, the aperture and the magnetic lenses improve the quality of the electron beam.