Investigation and optimization of a high voltage piezoelectric particle accelerator
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This thesis contains analysis of the piezoelectric effect as a means to produce high voltage. The goal of this analysis is to determine if piezoelectric transformers can be used effectively in compact x-ray source applications. For the piezoelectric effect to be considered a viable mechanism for x-ray sources, the piezoelectric device must be able to produce x-ray energies ranging between 40 - 60 keV. The presented experiments demonstrated that a piezoelectric transformer produced x-rays with energies up to 125 keV. These results confirmed that the piezoelectric effect is a viable mechanism for compact x-ray production. The piezoelectric transformer far surpassed conventional piezoelectric devices and was capable of meeting and exceeding the operating voltage of x-ray applications such as tomography or radiography. Furthermore, due to the high voltages achievable by the piezoelectric transformer, additional applications such as compact neutron sources became viable using the piezoelectric effect. The D(d,n)3He fusion reaction, for instance, requires at least 100 kV for a reasonable cross-section, which is achievable using the piezoelectric transformer. While further development will be required to demonstrate neutron production using a piezoelectric transformer, the results showed that the piezoelectric effect has many potential applications beyond the scope of conventional piezoelectric devices.