A high-gradient linear accelerator comprises a solid-state stack in a vacuum of five sets of disc-shaped Blumlein modules each having a center hole through which particles are sequentially accelerated. Each Blumlein module is a sandwich of two outer conductive plates that bracket an inner conductive plate positioned between two dielectric plates with different thicknesses and dielectric constants. A third dielectric core in the shape of a hollow cylinder forms a casing down the series of center holes, and it has a dielectric constant different that the two dielectric plates that sandwich the inner conductive plate. In operation, all the inner conductive plates are charged to the same DC potential relative to the outer conductive plates. Next, all the inner conductive plates are simultaneously shorted to the outer conductive plates at the outer diameters. The signal short will propagate to the inner diameters at two different rates in each Blumlein module. A faster wave propagates quicker to the third dielectric core across the dielectric plates with the closer spacing and lower dielectric constant. When the faster wave reaches the inner extents of the outer and inner conductive plates, it reflects back outward and reverses the field in that segment of the dielectric core. All the field segments in the dielectric core are then in unipolar agreement until the slower wave finally propagates to the third dielectric core across the dielectric plates with the wider spacing and higher dielectric constant. During such unipolar agreement, particles in the core are accelerated with gradients that exceed twenty megavolts per meter.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.