Accession Number : ADA462425


Title :   Study of a Novel Ionizer Configuration for the Ion Thruster


Descriptive Note : Master's thesis


Corporate Author : NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA


Personal Author(s) : Cooper, Jason T


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a462425.pdf


Report Date : Dec 2006


Pagination or Media Count : 81


Abstract : Micro-satellites often require the adaptation of existing propulsion systems. Electric propulsion thrusters are perhaps the best candidates to meet these needs and ion engines are among the most scalable. Miniaturizing the ion engine will require novel concepts for the ionizer with perhaps novel propellants. MEMS, nanotechnology and other technological advances are expected to impact on new designs. Our work shows that the ionization of Argon, which is an alternate fuel to Xenon, can be achieved at low voltages by utilizing Micro-Structured Electrode (MSE) Arrays. Copper-clad sheets separated by a dielectric material (fiberglass laminate epoxy resin system combined with a glass fabric substrate) of varying thickness (0.1 mm to 0.4 mm) form the discharge electrodes in the MSE arrays. The wafers are drilled with an array of holes and this geometry serves to concentrate the electric field between electrodes enhancing electron emission at the cathode. Minimum breakdown voltages between 240 and 280 Volts at pressures of around 100 mTorr (0.133N/square meters) were consistently obtained with arrays of hole diameter ranging from 300 to 500 micrometers. These results are consistent with conventional Paschen-curves with two empirical constants that arise from our unconventional geometrical arrangements and from the different material properties.


Descriptors :   *IONS , *PROPULSION SYSTEMS , *THRUSTERS , ARRAYS , CONFIGURATIONS , ION ENGINES , ARGON , IONIZATION , ELECTRODES , THESES


Subject Categories : Electric and Ion Propulsion


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE