Manufacturing of Tungsten Scandate Nano-Composite Powder via Sol-Gel Method for High Current Density and Long-Life Cathodes

Tech ID: 25465 / UC Case 2015-422-0


The researchers at University of California, Davis have developed a new process for manufacturing tungsten scandate nano-composite powder that produces high current density and long-life cathodes for high-power terahertz vacuum electron devices. Scandate tungsten nano-composite cathodes enable advancement of microwave sources that bridge the "Terahertz gap."

Full Description

Currently commercially available cathodes do not produce an adequate amount of current density to build sensible high power devices. The process developed at UC Davis can provide cathodes suitable for a power-bandwidth product of 1000 watt-GHz.

The fabrication process uses a sol-gel method for manufacturing tungsten oxide and scandia nano-particles that are subsequently reduced to pure tungsten-scandate powder. The resulting cathodes can be produced in desired shapes to fit into specific electron gun configurations.

The microcomposite scandate dispenser cathodes with homogeneous microstructure of tungsten grains and uniform nanosized dispersion of scandia have been fabricated. These cathodes have high current emission and can be machined with high tolerance and required surface finish for the intended engineering applications.

These cathodes were specifically developed for high frequency microwave devices intended for military applications (i.e. radar), communications (satellites), medical imaging (soft tissue), and plasma fusion diagnostics (density and temperature). The electron guns can also be used in a variety of applications including electron microscopes, electron beam lithography, electron beam welding, etc.


  • Military
  • Telecommunications
  • Medical imaging
  • Plasma fusion diagnostics
  • Electron microscopes
  • Electron beam lithography
  • Electron beam welding, etc.


High currency density and long life cathodes for terahertz vacuum electron beam devices

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,714,292 07/14/2020 2015-422


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Other Information


cathode, vacuum, terahertz, microwave, electron beam, tungsten scandate

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