The ion source for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) is a radio-frequency, multicusp source designed to deliver H beam pulses of 45 mA to the SNS accelerator, with a pulse length of 1 ms and a repetition rate of 60 Hz. In order to achieve this performance the source must operate with both high peak rf power, ∼45 kW, and high average rf power, ∼3 kW, over an operational run period of 3 weeks. The most critical source component in this respect is the plasma-immersed, porcelain coated rf antenna which can be susceptible to damage during high power operation. The DESY group has developed an external antenna configuration utilizing an Al2O3 plasma chamber which has demonstrated a very long operational period exceeding 25 000 h. Their source operates with peak rf powers comparable to the SNS source but with greatly reduced average rf powers, ∼50 W. In order to explore the applicability of this external antenna concept to high average power ion sources like the SNS source, we have performed thermal, mechanical, and electromagnetic analyses of the Al2O3 plasma chamber. This article discusses the final design which has resulted from these studies as well as estimates of the power limitations of such devices.

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