Ion trapping and AC amplification

Discussion in 'High Voltage' started by jwbrooks0, Jul 6, 2012.

1. jwbrooks0New Member

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Hi guys,

This is my first time posting here. Love the site.

I was recently asked to build a "macro" scopic ion trap (Paul trap) to levitate Styrofoam particles (2 mm and smaller) for demonstrations. I've built the trap, but it's not working. My calculations tell me that my AC voltage isn't high enough.

The trap requires oscillating voltages, and lower frequencies are better for "macro" particles. Therefore, I'm using AC from the wall. The problem is that my calculations show that I need voltages ranging from 1000 VAC to 20,000 VAC at 60 Hz. Current is not an issue here. My lab has access to several variacs, but these can only raise the voltage to 135 VAC.

One of my co-workers suggested that I buy a "step-down" transformer and wire it in backwards to act as a "step-up" transformer. I bought a 20 times (roughly) stepdown transformer (I bought this before I knew exactly what range of voltages I needed), and I tested it as a step down transformer. It worked. I reversed it, and that's when it caused problems. It did raise the voltage by 20x, but it simultaneously lowered the source voltage (I was using the aforementioned variac at 135 VAC) to 0.5 VAC. I have no idea why it's doing this. Here is the transformer I bought: http://www.alliedelec.com/search/productdetail.aspx?sku=70218456

My question for you is, how can I get 1000 VAC to 20,000 VAC at 60 Hz? Is there a way I can make the transformer work? Is there an all-around better way?

Thanks, guys.

2. JaconnorNew Member

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If I understand what you are saying, it sounds like you are applying 120v to a 6 volt winding. This will not work. It will either draw gobs of current or collapse your supply or both. I think what your friend meant was to use a step down transformer with a 120 volt secondary, for example, 600 to120 volts. Then you could apply 120 to the secondary and take 600 volts off the 600v primary wdg.

3. ChrisP58Well-Known Member

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You need a "step-UP" transformer with a 120 Volt primary and a high voltage secondary. The easiest high voltage transformers to find are for neon signs.

Just be real careful of the high voltage!!!

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5. unclejed613Well-Known Member

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you need a neon sign transformer or an oil furnace transformer. the little transformer you're using will break down because the windings and insulation aren't designed to withstand such high voltages for very long.