Lack of Behavioral Effects of High-Peak-Power Microwave Pulses from an Axially Extracted Virtual Cathode Oscillator
Final rept. Mar-Sep 1988
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LAB NM LIFE SCIENCES DIV
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The development of high-power microwave HPM generators capable of producing extremely high-peak-power pulses for defense, commercial, and biomedical applications 1,2 has raised concern for the safety of the personnel operating such equipment. Occupational safety standards for radiofrequency exposure are based on the average-power density of irradiation and may lack applicability in situations where peak-power density is quite high while average-power density is relatively low. A battery of behavioral experiments was conducted to evaluate possible biological effects of high-power microwave HPM pulses generated by the Transformer Energized Megavolt Pulsed Output TEMPO microwave emitter, an axially extracted Virtual Cathode Oscillator VIRCATOR. Free space electromagnetic energy in the frequency range 2.01 to 2.57 GHz mean frequency 2.11 or - 0.09 SD was radiated by conical horn in a TM01 mode. The overall pulse width was approximately 85 ns, with maximum power densities ranging as high as 24.11 kWcm sq. per pulse mean peak-power density 10.79 KWcm sq. or - 0.35 SEM. The results suggest that peak power is not as important as average power in causing deleterious biological effects.