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Title: Experimental validation of the dual positive and negative ion beam acceleration in the plasma propulsion with electronegative gases thruster

The PEGASES (Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative Gases) thruster is a gridded ion thruster, where both positive and negative ions are accelerated to generate thrust. In this way, additional downstream neutralization by electrons is redundant. To achieve this, the thruster accelerates alternately positive and negative ions from an ion-ion plasma where the electron density is three orders of magnitude lower than the ion densities. This paper presents a first experimental study of the alternate acceleration in PEGASES, where SF{sub 6} is used as the working gas. Various electrostatic probes are used to investigate the source plasma potential and the energy, composition, and current of the extracted beams. We show here that the plasma potential control in such system is key parameter defining success of ion extraction and is sensitive to both parasitic electron current paths in the source region and deposition of sulphur containing dielectric films on the grids. In addition, large oscillations in the ion-ion plasma potential are found in the negative ion extraction phase. The oscillation occurs when the primary plasma approaches the grounded parts of the main core via sub-millimetres technological inputs. By controlling and suppressing the various undesired effects, we achieve perfect ion-ion plasma potential control withmore » stable oscillation-free operation in the range of the available acceleration voltages (±350 V). The measured positive and negative ion currents in the beam are about 10 mA for each component at RF power of 100 W and non-optimized extraction system. Two different energy analyzers with and without magnetic electron suppression system are used to measure and compare the negative and positive ion and electron fluxes formed by the thruster. It is found that at alternate ion-ion extraction the positive and negative ion energy peaks are similar in areas and symmetrical in position with +/− ion energy corresponding to the amplitude of the applied acceleration voltage.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22278148
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; ACCELERATION; ANIONS; BEAM CURRENTS; CATIONS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ELECTRON DENSITY; ELECTRONS; ION BEAMS; ION PROPULSION; ION THRUSTERS; OSCILLATIONS; PLASMA; PLASMA POTENTIAL; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; SULFUR FLUORIDES