Plasma jet source using an inertial electrostatic confinement discharge plasma

Jonathon H Nadler (Inventor), Yibin Gu (Inventor), George H Miley (Inventor), Blair P Bromley (Inventor), John Sved (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


An electrostatic ion jet source design, based on inertial electrostatic confinement technology. According to the invention, the inertial electrostatic confinement jet source employs a configuration that is compatible with the generation and acceleration of ions within a vacuum chamber. The device uses a unique spherical configuration, enlarged hole grid, channel guide grid and electron production/confinement method. The prior art designs have to produce a small diameter jet. Virtual cathode formation in a high-density region, combined with a locally distorted cathode grid potential field, extracts accelerated ions in an intense quasi-neutral ion jet. The device ejects matter with a jet form for use as an industrial plasma spray, industrial material processing, waste treatment, welding or cutting materials, or for plasma vapor deposition. The invention also concerns a device that can provide a propulsive thrust force for spacecraft propulsion, particularly an ion jet thruster, which uses an inertial electrostatic confinement design having a discharge plasma for generating ions that provide thrust when accelerated and expelled from the device in the plasma jet.
Original languageEnglish (US)
U.S. patent number6121569
Filing date8/4/99
StatePublished - Sep 19 2000


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