# Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model

## Abstract

A new cathodeless plasma thruster currently under development at Onera is presented and characterized experimentally and analytically. The coaxial thruster consists of a microwave antenna immersed in a magnetic field, which allows electron heating via cyclotron resonance. The magnetic field diverges at the thruster exit and forms a nozzle that accelerates the quasi-neutral plasma to generate a thrust. Different thruster configurations are tested, and in particular, the influence of the source diameter on the thruster performance is investigated. At microwave powers of about 30 W and a xenon flow rate of 0.1 mg/s (1 SCCM), a mass utilization of 60% and a thrust of 1 mN are estimated based on angular electrostatic probe measurements performed downstream of the thruster in the exhaust plume. Results are found to be in fair agreement with a recent analytical helicon thruster model that has been adapted for the coaxial geometry used here.

- Authors:

- Physics and Instrumentation Department, Onera -The French Aerospace Lab, Palaiseau, Cedex 91123 (France)
- (France)
- Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau (France)

- Publication Date:

- OSTI Identifier:
- 22410347

- Resource Type:
- Journal Article

- Journal Name:
- Physics of Plasmas

- Additional Journal Information:
- Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X

- Country of Publication:
- United States

- Language:
- English

- Subject:
- 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ANTENNAS; CONFIGURATION; ELECTRON CYCLOTRON-RESONANCE; ELECTRONS; ELECTROSTATIC PROBES; FLOW RATE; HEATING; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MICROWAVE RADIATION; NOZZLES; PLASMA; THRUSTERS; XENON

### Citation Formats

```
Cannat, F., E-mail: felix.cannat@onera.fr, E-mail: felix.cannat@gmail.com, Lafleur, T., Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau, Jarrige, J., Elias, P.-Q., Packan, D., and Chabert, P.
```*Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model*. United States: N. p., 2015.
Web. doi:10.1063/1.4920966.

```
Cannat, F., E-mail: felix.cannat@onera.fr, E-mail: felix.cannat@gmail.com, Lafleur, T., Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau, Jarrige, J., Elias, P.-Q., Packan, D., & Chabert, P.
```*Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model*. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4920966.

```
Cannat, F., E-mail: felix.cannat@onera.fr, E-mail: felix.cannat@gmail.com, Lafleur, T., Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau, Jarrige, J., Elias, P.-Q., Packan, D., and Chabert, P. Fri .
"Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4920966.
```

```
@article{osti_22410347,
```

title = {Optimization of a coaxial electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster with an analytical model},

author = {Cannat, F., E-mail: felix.cannat@onera.fr, E-mail: felix.cannat@gmail.com and Lafleur, T. and Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau and Jarrige, J. and Elias, P.-Q. and Packan, D. and Chabert, P.},

abstractNote = {A new cathodeless plasma thruster currently under development at Onera is presented and characterized experimentally and analytically. The coaxial thruster consists of a microwave antenna immersed in a magnetic field, which allows electron heating via cyclotron resonance. The magnetic field diverges at the thruster exit and forms a nozzle that accelerates the quasi-neutral plasma to generate a thrust. Different thruster configurations are tested, and in particular, the influence of the source diameter on the thruster performance is investigated. At microwave powers of about 30 W and a xenon flow rate of 0.1 mg/s (1 SCCM), a mass utilization of 60% and a thrust of 1 mN are estimated based on angular electrostatic probe measurements performed downstream of the thruster in the exhaust plume. Results are found to be in fair agreement with a recent analytical helicon thruster model that has been adapted for the coaxial geometry used here.},

doi = {10.1063/1.4920966},

journal = {Physics of Plasmas},

issn = {1070-664X},

number = 5,

volume = 22,

place = {United States},

year = {2015},

month = {5}

}