Oskar Heil

Last updated

Oskar Heil (20 March 1908, in Langwieden – 15 May 1994, San Mateo, California) was a German electrical engineer and inventor. He studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, and music at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and was awarded his PhD in 1933, for his work on molecular spectroscopy.

Langwieden Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Langwieden is a municipality in the district of Kaiserslautern, in Rhineland-Palatinate, western Germany.

San Mateo, California City in California, United States

San Mateo is a city in San Mateo County, California, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of San Francisco, and 31 miles (50 km) northwest of San Jose. San Mateo had an estimated 2017 population of 104,748.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Contents

Figures from Heil's British patent of 1935. The insulated gates are shown as reference number 6, with connection terminals 7, 7', and 7" Heil patent figs.png
Figures from Heil's British patent of 1935. The insulated gates are shown as reference number 6, with connection terminals 7, 7', and 7"

Personal life

At the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Oskar Heil met Agnesa Arsenjewa (Агнесса Николаевна Арсеньева, 1901–1991), a promising young Russian physicist who also earned her PhD there. They married in Leningrad, the Soviet Union in 1934.

Göttingen Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Göttingen is a university city in Lower Saxony, Germany, the capital of the eponymous district. It is run through by River Leine. At the start of 2017, the population was 134,212.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Together they moved to the United Kingdom to work in the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. While on a trip to Italy, they co-wrote a pioneering paper on the generation of microwaves which was published in Germany in the Zeitschrift für Physik (i.e., Journal on Physics) in 1935. [1] Agnesa subsequently returned to Russia to pursue this work further at the Leningrad Physico-Chemical Institute with her husband. However, he then returned to the UK alone; Agnesa, working in what had by then become a highly sensitive subject, was possibly not allowed to leave. Back in Britain, Oskar Heil worked for Standard Telephones and Cables.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Cavendish Laboratory Physics laboratory

The Cavendish Laboratory is the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, and is part of the School of Physical Sciences. The laboratory was opened in 1874 on the New Museums Site as a laboratory for experimental physics and is named after the British chemist and physicist Henry Cavendish. The laboratory has had a huge influence on research in the disciplines of physics and biology.

Standard Telephones and Cables

Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd was a British telephone, telegraph, radio, telecommunications, and related equipment R&D manufacturer. During its history, STC invented and developed several groundbreaking new technologies including pulse code modulation (PCM) and optical fibres.

At the onset of the Second World War he returned to Germany via Switzerland. During the war Heil worked on a microwave generator for the C. Lorenz AG in Berlin-Tempelhof.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Microwave form of electromagnetic radiation

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from about one meter to one millimeter; with frequencies between 300 MHz (1 m) and 300 GHz (1 mm). Different sources define different frequency ranges as microwaves; the above broad definition includes both UHF and EHF bands. A more common definition in radio engineering is the range between 1 and 100 GHz. In all cases, microwaves include the entire SHF band at minimum. Frequencies in the microwave range are often referred to by their IEEE radar band designations: S, C, X, Ku, K, or Ka band, or by similar NATO or EU designations.

C. Lorenz AG (1880-1958) was a German electrical and electronics firm primarily located in Berlin. It innovated, developed and marketed products for electric lighting, telegraphy, telephony, radar, and radio. It was acquired by ITT in 1930, and became part of the newly founded company Standard Elektrik Lorenz (SEL) in 1958 when it merged with Standard Elektrizitätsgesellschaft and several other smaller companies owned by ITT. In 1987, SEL merged with the French companies Compagnie Générale d'Electricité and Alcatel to form the new Alcatel SEL.

In 1947 Heil was invited to the USA. After doing scientific work for Eitel McCullough and later the Varian Eimac division in San Carlos from 1955 until 1983, he founded his own company called Heil Scientific Labs Inc. in 1963 in Belmont, California. Agnesa remained in the Soviet Union until her death in 1991. [2]

Belmont, California City in California, United States

Belmont is a city in San Mateo County in the U.S. state of California. It is in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the San Francisco Peninsula halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. It was originally part of Rancho de las Pulgas, for which one of its main roads, the Alameda de las Pulgas, is named. The city was incorporated in 1926. Its population was 25,835 at the 2010 census.

Microwave vacuum tube

Oskar Heil and Agnesa Arsenjewa-Heil in their pioneering paper developed the concept of the velocity-modulated tube, in which a beam of electrons could be made to form into "bunches" and thereby generate with reasonable efficiency radio waves of considerably higher frequency and power than were possible with conventional vacuum tubes/thermionic valves. This resulted in production of the "Heil tube", the first truly-practicable microwave generator, which slightly predated the (independent) invention of the klystron and subsequently the reflex klystron based on the same operating principle. These devices were a significant milestone in the development of microwave technology (particularly radar), and velocity-modulated tubes are still very much in use at the present day.

Klystron

A klystron is a specialized linear-beam vacuum tube, invented in 1937 by American electrical engineers Russell and Sigurd Varian, which is used as an amplifier for high radio frequencies, from UHF up into the microwave range. Low-power klystrons are used as oscillators in terrestrial microwave relay communications links, while high-power klystrons are used as output tubes in UHF television transmitters, satellite communication, radar transmitters, and to generate the drive power for modern particle accelerators.

Radar object detection system based on radio waves

Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object(s). Radio waves from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object's location and speed.

Field-effect transistor

Heil is mentioned as the inventor of an early transistor-like device (see also History of the transistor), based on several patents that were issued to him. [3] [4]

JFETS: The New Frontier states:

"Field-effect transistors (FETs) have been around for a long time; in fact, they were invented, at least theoretically, before the bipolar transistors. The basic principle of the FET has been known since J.E. Lilienfeld’s US patent from 1930, [5] and Oscar Heil described the possibility of controlling the resistance in a semiconducting material with an electric field in a British patent in 1935."

Air Motion Transformer

He also invented the "air-motion transformer" audio speaker technology [6] made famous by the amt1 speaker of ESS in the early 1970s. [7]

The amt diaphragm is made of a mylar ribbon, bonded with conductive aluminum strips. It is equivalent in surface area to a conventional seven-inch cone type mid-range driver, but is accordion-folded down to a compact one and a half inch grouping for point-source dispersion. The low-mass diaphragm is suspended within a dipole magnetic field concentrating an intense field around said diaphragm. When signal current passes through the aluminum strips, the ensuing bellows-like motion of the folded pleats moves air five times faster than a conventional cone driver. This rapid acceleration of air-motion is claimed to provide enhanced sound reproduction, including high dynamic range and over a broad frequency range.

Related Research Articles

Amplifier electronic device that can increase the power of a signal

An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal. It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to increase the amplitude of a signal applied to its input terminals, producing a proportionally greater amplitude signal at its output. The amount of amplification provided by an amplifier is measured by its gain: the ratio of output voltage, current, or power to input. An amplifier is a circuit that has a power gain greater than one.

Cavity magnetron device for generating microwaves

The cavity magnetron is a high-powered vacuum tube that generates microwaves using the interaction of a stream of electrons with a magnetic field while moving past a series of open metal cavities. Electrons pass by the openings to these cavities and cause radio waves to oscillate within, similar to the way a whistle produces a tone when excited by an air stream blown past its opening. The frequency of the microwaves produced, the resonant frequency, is determined by the cavities' physical dimensions. Unlike other vacuum tubes such as a klystron or a traveling-wave tube (TWT), the magnetron cannot function as an amplifier in order to increase the intensity of an applied microwave signal; the magnetron serves solely as an oscillator, generating a microwave signal from direct current electricity supplied to the vacuum tube.

Transistor semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

Vacuum tube Device that controls electric current between electrodes in an evacuated container

In electronics, a vacuum tube, an electron tube, or valve or, colloquially, a tube, is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric potential difference has been applied.

JFET type of field-effect transistor

The junction gate field-effect transistor is one of the simple type of field-effect transistor. JFETs are three-terminal semiconductor devices that can be used as electronically-controlled switches, amplifiers, or voltage-controlled resistors.

Tweeter loudspeaker for high audio frequencies

A tweeter or treble speaker is a special type of loudspeaker that is designed to produce high audio frequencies, typically from around 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Specialty tweeters can deliver high frequencies up to 100 kHz. The name is derived from the high pitched sounds made by some birds (Tweets), especially in contrast to the low woofs made by many dogs, after which low-frequency drivers are named (woofers).

Armstrong oscillator

The Armstrong oscillator is an electronic oscillator circuit which uses an inductor and capacitor to generate an oscillation. It is the earliest oscillator circuit, invented by US engineer Edwin Armstrong in 1912 and independently by Austrian engineer Alexander Meissner in 1913, and was used in the first vacuum tube radio transmitters. It is sometimes called a tickler oscillator because its distinguishing feature is that the feedback signal needed to produce oscillations is magnetically coupled into the tank inductor in the input circuit by a "tickler coil" (L2, right) in the output circuit. Assuming the coupling is weak, but sufficient to sustain oscillation, the oscillation frequency f is determined primarily by the tank circuit (L1 and C in the figure on the right) and is approximately given by

Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Austro-Hungarian physicist

Julius Edgar Lilienfeld was an Austro-Hungarian American physicist and electronic engineer, credited with the first patents on the field-effect transistor (FET) (1925) and electrolytic capacitor (1931). Because of his failure to publish articles in learned journals and because high-purity semiconductor materials were not available yet, his FET patent never achieved fame, causing confusion for later inventors.

Electronic component basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields

An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial products, available in a singular form and are not to be confused with electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electronic components.

A dielectric resonator is a piece of dielectric (nonconductive) material, usually ceramic, that is designed to function as a resonator for radio waves, generally in the microwave and millimeter wave bands. The microwaves are confined inside the resonator material by the abrupt change in permittivity at the surface, and bounce back and forth between the sides. At certain frequencies, the resonant frequencies, the microwaves form standing waves in the resonator, oscillating with large amplitudes. Dielectric resonators generally consist of a "puck" of ceramic that has a large dielectric constant and a low dissipation factor. The resonant frequency is determined by the overall physical dimensions of the resonator and the dielectric constant of the material.

The Air Motion Transformer (AMT) is a type of electroacoustic transducer or loudspeaker, also called Air Velocity Transformer (AVT) or JET transducer. Invented by Dr. Oskar Heil, it operates on a different transduction principle than other loudspeaker designs, such as moving coil, planar magnetic or electrostatically driven loudspeakers, and should not be confused with planar or true ribbon loudspeakers. In contrast to a planar ribbon loudspeaker the diaphragm of the AMT is of pleated shape similar to a bellows. The AMT moves air in an augmented, semi-perpendicular motion using a folded sheet, structured around a series of aluminum struts positioned in a high-intensity magnetic field.

Varian Associates was one of the first high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1948 by Russell H. and Sigurd F. Varian, William Webster Hansen, and Edward Ginzton to sell the klystron, the first vacuum tube which could amplify electromagnetic waves at microwave frequencies, and other electromagnetic equipment. Varian Associates split into three companies in 1999: Varian Medical Systems, Varian, Inc. and Varian Semiconductor.

The inductive output tube (IOT) or klystrode is a variety of linear-beam vacuum tube, similar to a klystron, used as a power amplifier for high frequency radio waves. It evolved in the 1980s to meet increasing efficiency requirements for high-power RF amplifiers in radio transmitters. The primary commercial use of IOTs is in UHF television transmitters, where they have mostly replaced klystrons because of their higher efficiencies and smaller size. IOTs are also used in particle accelerators. They are capable of producing power output up to about 30 kW continuous and 7 MW pulsed and gains of 20–23 dB at frequencies up to about a gigahertz.

Barkhausen–Kurz tube high frequency vacuum tube electronic oscillator


The Barkhausen–Kurz tube, also called the retarding-field tube, reflex triode, B–K oscillator, and Barkhausen oscillator was a high frequency vacuum tube electronic oscillator invented in 1920 by German physicists Heinrich Georg Barkhausen and Karl Kurz. It was the first oscillator that could produce radio power in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) portion of the radio spectrum, above 300 MHz. It was also the first oscillator to exploit electron transit time effects. It was used as a source of high frequency radio waves in research laboratories, and in a few UHF radio transmitters through World War 2. Its output power was low which limited its applications. However it inspired research that led to other more successful transit time tubes such as the klystron, which made the low power Barkhausen-Kurz tube obsolete.

Sir John Turton Randall, was an English physicist and biophysicist, credited with radical improvement of the cavity magnetron, an essential component of centimetric wavelength radar, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War. It is also the key component of microwave ovens.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to electronics:

Field-effect transistor transistor that uses an electric field to control the electrical behaviour of the device. FETs are also known as unipolar transistors since they involve single-carrier-type operation

The field-effect transistor (FET) is an electronic device which uses an electric field to control the flow of current. FETs are 3-terminalled devices, having a source, gate, and drain terminal. FETs control the flow of current by the application of a voltage to the gate terminal, which in turn alters the conductivity between the drain and source terminals.

Sutton tube

A Sutton tube, or reflex klystron, is a type of vacuum tube used to generate microwaves. It is a low-power device used primarily for two purposes; one is to provide a tuneable low-power frequency source for the local oscillators in receiver circuits, and the other, with minor modifications, as a switch that could turn on and off another microwave source. The second use, sometimes known as a soft Sutton tube or rhumbatron switch, was a key component in the development of microwave radar during World War II. Microwave switches of all designs, including these, are more generally known as T/R tubes or T/R cells.

References

  1. Arsenjewa-Heil, A.; Heil, O. (1935). "Eine neue Methode zur Erzeugung kurzer, ungedämpfter elektromagnetischer Wellen großer Intensität" [A new method for the generation of short, undamped electromagnetic waves of high intensity]. Zeitschrift für Physik (in German). 95: 752–762.
  2. Thumm, Manfred (2006), "Historical German Contributions to Physics and Applications of Electromagnetic Oscillations and Waves", History of Wireless, John Wiley & Sons: 340–343, ISBN   0-471-78301-3 (A photo of Oskar Heil together with his wife can be found on p. 341.)
  3. GB 439457 Oskar Heil: "Improvements in or relating to electrical amplifiers and other control arrangements and devices" first filed in Germany March 2, 1934
  4. Robert G. Arns, "The other transistor: early history of the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor," Engineering Science and Education Journal, October 1998.
  5. U.S. Patent 1,745,175 "Method and apparatus for controlling electric current" first filed in Canada on October 22, 1925, describing a device similar to a MESFET
  6. "Heil air motion transformer" audio speaker technology
  7. "Heil air motion transformer" , which may still be available in cached form. Archived 2006-06-15 at the Wayback Machine .