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Title: Ion ejection from a permanent-magnet mini-helicon thruster

A small helicon source, 5 cm in diameter and 5 cm long, using a permanent magnet (PM) to create the DC magnetic field B, is investigated for its possible use as an ion spacecraft thruster. Such ambipolar thrusters do not require a separate electron source for neutralization. The discharge is placed in the far-field of the annular PM, where B is fairly uniform. The plasma is ejected into a large chamber, where the ion energy distribution is measured with a retarding-field energy analyzer. The resulting specific impulse is lower than that of Hall thrusters but can easily be increased to relevant values by applying to the endplate of the discharge a small voltage relative to spacecraft ground.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Electrical Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-1594 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22303447
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; ELECTRON SOURCES; ENERGY SPECTRA; IONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; PERMANENT MAGNETS; PLASMA; PULSES; THRUSTERS