A virtual, moving accelerating gap is formed along an insulating tube in a dielectric wall accelerator (DWA) by locally controlling the conductivity of the tube. Localized voltage concentration is thus achieved by sequential activation of a variable resistive tube or stalk down the axis of an inductive voltage adder, producing a "virtual" traveling wave along the tube. The tube conductivity can be controlled at a desired location, which can be moved at a desired rate, by light illumination, or by photoconductive switches, or by other means. As a result, an impressed voltage along the tube appears predominantly over a local region, the virtual gap. By making the length of the tube large in comparison to the virtual gap length, the effective gain of the accelerator can be made very large.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the United States Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.