A Glimmer of Sunset Appears on the Horizon for Microwave and Millimeter Wave Electron Tubes

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2Q 2014 | IN-1019061


VEDs: A 75-year Legacy


The year 2013 was kind of auspicious, as it represented the 75th anniversary of the klystron microwave electron tube. This bit of arcane trivia at first glance seems fairly useless, but it does draw attention to several important present-day facts. First, microwave and millimeter wave electron tubes, or vacuum electron devices (VED) in a more modern parlance, are still with us and represent more than a US$1 billion business in today’s marketplace. One of the true legacy technologies in a playing field awash with new devices and techniques, these VEDs have been a bridge to the first half of the 20th century. In many cases, their performance is still at the edge of state of the art, and replacing them with solid state devices has been elusive, but things are starting to change.


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Electron Tubes: Still a Stable Business, and the Direction Is Clear