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Title: Magnetic shielding of a laboratory Hall thruster. II. Experiments

The physics of magnetic shielding in Hall thrusters were validated through laboratory experiments demonstrating essentially erosionless, high-performance operation. The magnetic field near the walls of a laboratory Hall thruster was modified to effectively eliminate wall erosion while maintaining the magnetic field topology away from the walls necessary to retain efficient operation. Plasma measurements at the walls validate our understanding of magnetic shielding as derived from the theory. The plasma potential was maintained very near the anode potential, the electron temperature was reduced by a factor of two to three, and the ion current density was reduced by at least a factor of two. Measurements of the carbon backsputter rate, wall geometry, and direct measurement of plasma properties at the wall indicate that the wall erosion rate was reduced by a factor of 1000 relative to the unshielded thruster. These changes effectively eliminate wall erosion as a life limitation in Hall thrusters, enabling a new class of deep-space missions that could not previously be attempted.
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California 91109 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22275643
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; CARBON; CURRENT DENSITY; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; EROSION; HALL EFFECT; ION PROPULSION; ION THRUSTERS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC SHIELDING; PLASMA; PLASMA POTENTIAL; PROPULSION SYSTEMS