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A study of a new electromechanical energy conversion process using superconducting frequency modulated resonators


Yen, Huan-chun (1977) A study of a new electromechanical energy conversion process using superconducting frequency modulated resonators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/VY1S-9971.


Experimental demonstrations and theoretical analyses of a new electromechanical energy conversion process which is made feasible only by the unique properties of superconductors are presented in this dissertation. This energy conversion process is characterized by a highly efficient direct energy transformation from microwave energy into mechanical energy or vice versa and can be achieved at high power level. It is an application of a well established physical principle known as the adiabatic theorem (Boltzmann-Ehrenfest theorem) and in this case time dependent superconducting boundaries provide the necessary interface between the microwave energy on one hand and the mechanical work on the other. The mechanism which brings about the conversion is another known phenomenon - the Doppler effect. The resonant frequency of a superconducting resonator undergoes continuous infinitesimal shifts when the resonator boundaries are adiabatically changed in time by an external mechanical mechanism. These small frequency shifts can accumulate coherently over an extended period of time to produce a macroscopic shift when the resonator remains resonantly excited throughout this process. In addition, the electromagnetic energy in s ide the resonator which is proportional to the oscillation frequency is al so accordingly changed so that a direct conversion between electromagnetic and mechanical energies takes place. The intrinsically high efficiency of this process is due to the electromechanical interactions involved in the conversion rather than a process of thermodynamic nature and therefore is not limited by the thermodynamic value.

A highly reentrant superconducting resonator resonating in the range of 90 to 160 MHz was used for demonstrating this new conversion technique. The resonant frequency was mechanically modulated at a rate of two kilohertz. Experimental results showed that the time evolution of the electromagnetic energy inside this frequency modulated (FM) superconducting resonator indeed behaved as predicted and thus demonstrated the unique features of this process. A proposed usage of FM superconducting resonators as electromechanical energy conversion devices is given along with some practical design considerations. This device seems to be very promising in producing high power (~10W/cm^3) microwave energy at 10 - 30 GHz.

Weakly coupled FM resonator system is also analytically studied for its potential applications. This system shows an interesting switching characteristic with which the spatial distribution of microwave energies can be manipulated by external means. It was found that if the modulation was properly applied, a high degree (>95%) of unidirectional energy transfer from one resonator to the other could be accomplished. Applications of this characteristic to fabricate high efficiency energy switching devices and high power microwave pulse generators are also found feasible with present superconducting technology.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Mercereau, James E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:18 May 1977
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07212014-085741427
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8571
Deposited On:21 Jul 2014 19:43
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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