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Title: Helical plasma thruster

A new scheme of plasma thruster is proposed. It is based on axial acceleration of rotating magnetized plasmas in magnetic field with helical corrugation. The idea is that the propellant ionization zone can be placed into the local magnetic well, so that initially the ions are trapped. The E × B rotation is provided by an applied radial electric field that makes the setup similar to a magnetron discharge. Then, from the rotating plasma viewpoint, the magnetic wells of the helically corrugated field look like axially moving mirror traps. Specific shaping of the corrugation can allow continuous acceleration of trapped plasma ions along the magnetic field by diamagnetic forces. The accelerated propellant is expelled through the expanding field of magnetic nozzle. By features of the acceleration principle, the helical plasma thruster may operate at high energy densities but requires a rather high axial magnetic field, which places it in the same class as the VASIMR{sup ®} rocket engine.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics SB RAS, Novosibirsk (Russian Federation)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22486475
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2015 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; ACCELERATION; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ENERGY DENSITY; IONIZATION; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETRONS; MINIMUM-B CONFIGURATIONS; NOZZLES; ROTATING PLASMA; THRUSTERS