The successful design of an ion cyclotron (IC) antenna mainly relies on the capability of coupling high power to the plasma (MW), feature that is currently reached by allowing rather high voltages (tens of kV) on the unavoidable unmatched part of the feeding lines. This requirement is often responsible of arcs along the transmission lines and other unwanted phenomena, such as rectification discharges or hotspots, that considerably limit the usage of IC launchers. In this work, we suggest and describe a revolutionary approach based on high impedance surfaces, which allows to increase the antenna radiation efficiency and, hence, to highly reduce the imposed voltages to couple the same level of power to the plasma. High-impedance surfaces are periodic metallic structures (patches) displaced usually on top of a dielectric substrate and grounded by means of vertical posts usually embedded inside a dielectric, in a mushroom-like shape. In terms of working properties, high impedance surfaces are electrically thin in-phase reflectors, i.e., they present a high impedance, within a given frequency band, such that the image currents are in-phase with the currents of the antenna itself, thus determining a significant efficiency increase. While the usual design of a high impedance surface requires the presence of a dielectric layer, some alternative solutions can be realised in vacuum, taking advantage of double layers of metallic patches. After an introductory part on the properties of high impedance surfaces, this work documents both their design by means of numerical codes and their implementation on a scaled mock-up.

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