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Title: Development of a miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma ion thruster for exospheric micro-propulsion

A miniature microwave electron cyclotron resonance plasma source [(discharge diameter)/(microwave cutoff diameter) < 0.3] has been developed at Kyushu University to be used as an ion thruster in micro-propulsion applications in the exosphere. The discharge source uses both radial and axial magnetostatic field confinement to facilitate electron cyclotron resonance and increase the electron dwell time in the volume, thereby enhancing plasma production efficiency. Performance of the ion thruster is studied at 3 microwave frequencies (1.2 GHz, 1.6 GHz, and 2.45 GHz), for low input powers (<15 W) and small xenon mass flow rates (<40 μg/s), by experimentally measuring the extracted ion beam current through a potential difference of ≅1200 V. The discharge geometry is found to operate most efficiently at an input microwave frequency of 1.6 GHz. At this frequency, for an input power of 8 W, and propellant (xenon) mass flow rate of 21 μg/s, 13.7 mA of ion beam current is obtained, equivalent to an calculated thrust of 0.74 mN.
Authors:
 [1] ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Department of Nuclear and Atomic Physics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai 400005 (India)
  2. Department of Advanced Energy Engineering Science, Kyushu University, Kasuga 816-8580 (Japan)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22482642
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Review of Scientific Instruments; Journal Volume: 86; Journal Issue: 12; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; BEAM CURRENTS; CONFINEMENT; EFFICIENCY; ELECTRON CYCLOTRON-RESONANCE; FLOW RATE; FUELS; GHZ RANGE 01-100; ION BEAMS; ION THRUSTERS; MICROWAVE RADIATION; PLASMA PRODUCTION; PROPULSION; XENON