Tom Naff was born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1934. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (cum laude) from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (now Louisiana Tech University) in 1956. He attended graduate school in Physics at the University of California, Berkeley.
At Lockheed Missiles and Space Division he designed and assembled his first capacitor bank in the summer of 1956. The bank was a 10 kJ, 15 kV bank used to drive a shock wave in a tube. The plasma formed by an electric discharge in a tube was magnetically accelerated forming a high velocity shock wave.
At MHD Research, Inc. in 1963, Mr. Naff designed and delivered an arc heated, high-pressure helium driver, shock tube. The shock tube was powered by a 1 MJ, 20 kV capacitor bank and used for space re-entry research.
At Maxwell, Mr. Naff designed and supervised the successful construction of five closely coupled, parallel connected, 30-stage Marx generators simulating the Maxwell approach to the AURORA Marx generator.
At Pulsar Associates in 1972, Mr. Naff, with partners Walter Crewson and Carleton Jones, designed and delivered the Empress I EMP Pulser and the HPD EMP Pulser. He also designed and delivered EMP Direct Drive pulsers. He was the principal designer of low jitter, commercially available trigger generators.
At L-3 Communications, PSD, Mr. Naff originated the design concept and participated in the development of the LINK Pulser, a 3.2 MJ, 400 kV, high current, high action system. The LINK Pulser was used in SREMP Tests sponsored by DNA (now DTRA) involving the generation of electric arcs in the earth. He originated the concept and participated in the design and development of the high coulomb, high action switches, used in the LINK Pulser and other high action capacitor banks.
Mr. Naff provided the conceptual design, and technical direction of the production, of multi-megajoule, high voltage capacitor banks for use in electric gun development and research.
Mr. Naff designed the FEMPS Pulser, the first megavolt class, nanosecond risetime EMP pulser. Mr. Naff was a principal designer of the 2 MV, fast risetime, FEMP-2000 Pulser delivered to the French Government.
Mr. Naff has contributed to the design of recent EMP Simulators for the Navy and for the Army.
Mr. Naff has more than 15 patents. He has a large number of publications for government organizations as well as in the open literature. He has many publications that are classified.
Mr. Naff specializes in low jitter spark
gap switches for high voltage pulsers of all energy levels.