Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will use a vertical vacuum retort furnace supplied by SECO/WARWICK for high-vacuum annealing of gyrotron components. The furnace will have a water jacket with a compact integrated cooling system. When open, it is 12 meters high, and the diameter of the usable space is 1.8 meters. KIT also required a specific level of high vacuum that will be achieved with the use of a cryogenic pump. According to SECO/WARWICK, the vacuum furnace will enable researchers at KIT to achieve a very clean process under vacuum and, thanks to its dimensions, will enable them to develop gyrotrons with larger dimensions.

KIT currently anneals components in a conventional furnace under nitrogen atmosphere. The institute says that transition to vacuum technology will mean a huge quality leap in terms of the heat-treatment process.

The equipment will be used as part of the ITER project. ITER is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project. KIT is in charge of tests and measurements on prototype gyrotrons, which are the devices used for heating plasma in the nuclear fusion process.