ABOUT KEN SHOULDERS’ DISCOVERY IN HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTROPHYSICS,
THE CHARGE CLUSTERS.
Round the end of the 20th century, US scientist Ken Shoulders had the idea to create a specific electronic device, which consisted from an acute cathode oriented in the direction of an anode, all within a tube filled with a discharge gas, under a 1-2 mm Hg pressure. He conducted experiments on this device, by sending ultra-short (about 3.10-3 ns) high-voltage, approx. 10 kV impulses, and observed the creation of uncommon localized charges, which were flowing from the peak of the cathode, within this electrovacuum device. On later created specific measuring devices, which enabled him to thoroughly study the characteristics of this “localized charges”.
These objects between the cathode and the anode had a spherical form, were hollow, and had a diameter typically between 5 and 15 μm. They were made of a group of 108 - 1011 electrons. Ken Shoulders called them « Electrum Validum » (« strong electron »). Their contemporary name is « Charge clusters ».
In some cases, this clusters had a small portion of positive charges embedded, coming from the surrounding atmosphere. These clusters were not electro-neutral. They looked like a plasma, and were closer to plasmoids, according to their characteristics. Theoretical research showed that they can even showcase a positive charge as a whole, resulting from the accumulation of a large number of protons.
This object had a quite short lifetime in atmosphere (a few hundreds picoseconds). This time was exceeding the time of possible spreading of free charges. Ken Shoulders noted that the smaller the object – the longer the lifetime. Thanks to the Coulomb interactions, the concentration of electrons on the surface of the charge cluster could exceed the concentration of electrons in metal by an order of magnitude. At such concentrations, and without any crystallic grid, these accumulations of electrons were capable to interact mechanically, as would solids do.
Research about elastic interaction between the « Electrum Validum » and a titane foil showed that when the cluster hit the foil, sometimes, a characteristic, circular melted crater was formed, along with a mold of non-melted matter in the center. Calculations showed that such structure can be formed only in the case of impact of a hollow and spherical object with the foil.
In our opinion, Ken Shoulders made one of the greatest discoveries of humanity in the field of high-voltage electrophysics. He discovered a new, non-trivial and viable physical object. Therefore we decided to created this section of our website about the Charge clusters, in order for our readers to get acquainted with the ideas of Ken Shoulders, susceptible to help creating new technologies, based on the unique physical properties of these objects.