Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Ampere 2019

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Automatic Measurement of Magnetron Rieke Diagrams
Vladimir Bilik

Last modified: 11-10-2019


A Rieke diagram [1] is a magnetron characteristic that visualizes the dependence of the generated frequency fg and the net delivered power PL on the load reflection coefficient GR. GR is defined in a specific magnetron-to-waveguide coupling structure called the standard or reference launcher (Fig. 1). The diagram is plotted as a family of isolines of constant fg and of constant PL in the polar diagram of GR. Rieke diagrams are essential in the design of applications without isolators, such as domestic or professional microwave ovens.

Constructing Rieke diagrams is tedious, time-consuming and equipment-demanding [2], [3], preventing systematic studies of their dependence on operating conditions, such as anode voltage and its ripple, filament current, mounting repeatability, etc.

We have devised a procedure, centering around a high-power automatic impedance matching device (autotuner), which enables fully automatic measurement and plotting of the stated dependences. A block diagram of the setup is shown in Fig. 1. The autotuner, when terminated in a match (waterload), can accomplish a task inverse to impedance matching: realizing any desired reflection coefficient GR. The measurement consists of stepping through a grid of n suitably chosen reflection coefficients GR = xR + jyR, covering a desired area of the polar diagram. Each GR is measured accurately by the autotuner, along with the corresponding fg and PL. Thus, raw data for constructing a Rieke diagram are obtained, the data consisting of a collection of n points {GR, fg, PL}i, i = 1…n, with GR, in general, irregularly scattered in the complex plane. A dedicated MATLAB routine then reads the data, sorts them out to create tabulated functions fg = f(xR, yR), PL = f(xR, yR), approximates these by a 2D spline, and uses the splines to plot smoothed isocontours for chosen constant values of fg and PL, completing thus the desired Rieke diagram construction. We will present details of this procedure as well as real-life examples.

Fig. 1. Rieke diagram measurement setup.


  1. Meredith, R. J., Engineers' Handbook of Industrial Microwave Heating, London: The IEE, 1998, 250–270.
  2. Takahashi, H., I. Namba, K. Akiyama, J. Microwave Power, 1979, 14, 261–267.
  3. Yixue, W., Z. Zhaotang, Proc. ICMMT'98, 1998, 795–798.


Magnetron; Rieke diagram; Autotuner

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