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High Voltage Padova Test Facility – HVPTF

(High Voltage Padova Test Facility)
is a dedicated device to perform

high voltage tests in vacuum.

The purpose of this experiment, unique of its kind, is to demonstrate the best technology suitable for reaching the potential difference of 1 Million Volts DC between two electrodes contained in a vacuum chamber and separated by a distance of tens of centimeters.

The activity carried out over the years has made it possible to guide the MITICA electrostatic accelerator project by carrying out specific tests and proofing prototypes of electrodes and insulators.

Image of an electrode seen with the infrared camera during the experimentation on HVPTF

HVPTF operates by applying potential differences up to 800000 V between stainless steel electrodes placed at distances of less than 20 centimetres.

The campaigns of HVPTF allowed the validation of numerical models by adding experimental evidence in a research field for which, to date, there is no established explanation describing the triggering of the high and medium vacuum discharge between metal electrodes.


  • A. De Lorenzi, N. Pilan, L. Lotto, M. Fincato, G. Pesavento, R. Gobbo (2011) HVPTF—the high voltage laboratory for the ITER neutral beam test facility. Fusion Eng. Des. Vol 86, Pag:742–5 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fusengdes.2011.03.117
  • N. Pilan, S.M. Deambrosis, A. De Lorenzi, M. Fincato, C. Fontana, R. Gobbo, L. Lotto, E. Martines, O. Mc Cormack, R. Pasqualotto (2020) Study of high DC voltage breakdown between stainless steel electrodes separated by long vacuum gaps. Nuclear Fusion, Vol. 60, No 7 https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-4326/ab8d03
  • N. Pilan, P. Veltri, A. De Lorenzi (2011) Voltage Holding Prediction in Multi Electrode–multi Voltage Systems Insulated in Vacuum. IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 2 Pag. 553-560 10.1109/TDEI.2011.5739461
  • S. Spagnolo, N. Pilan ; A. De Lorenzi ; L. Lotto ; E. Martines ; F. Rossetto ; E. Spada ; M. Zuin ; C. Fontana ; F. Pino ; R. Gobbo (2018) Current signals and x-ray spectra analysis for a vacuum high voltage holding experiment Proc. 28th Int. Symp. on Discharges and Electrical Insulation in Vacuum. International Symposium on Discharges and Electrical Insulation in Vacuum 10.1109/DEIV.2018.8537056