One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An electron tube suitable for phase-modulating a wave by large amounts, in which a pattern of beams emitted radially from a central cathode passes through a slotted cylindrical anode to a coaxial second anode, the pattern of beams being both rotated at a steady rate by a three-phase supply and modulated by a varying axial magnetic field that advances and retards the beams and thereby also the phase of the current at the second anode.
1940s; earliest use found in Electronics. From phase + -i- + -tron.
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