Plasma properties in the magnetic nozzle of an electron cyclotron resonance plasma source

Joshua L. Rovey, Robert A. Stubbers, Brian E. Jurczyk, Michael J. Williams, Fredrick T. Manley, David N. Ruzic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

State-of-the-art electric propulsion systems use plasma discharges that require an electrode in contact with plasma. Therefore, these devices suffer from lifetime-limiting erosion processes due to the harsh plasma environment. A potential solution to this problem is the use of an electrodeless propulsion scheme, such as microwave electron cyclotron resonance (ECR). In the ECR process, electrons resonantly gain energy from the microwave field and acquire enough energy to ionize neutral gas atoms. Acceleration of ions to generate thrust can also be an electrodeless process if a magnetic nozzle is employed. We present plasma property measurements in the downstream diverging magnetic nozzle of an ECR plasma source. Results show plasma number densities as high as 1.0×1012 cm-3, electron temperatures of 2-4 eV, and plasma potentials of 15-30 V. Ion energy-per-charge distributions show two peaks during low pressure operation (2.0×10-4 Torr). The first peak corresponds with the plasma potential and represents ions falling through the plasma sheath. The second peak is attributed to an ion beam component within the plasma and has values of 30-50 V, increasing with decreasing pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Hartford, CT, United States
Duration: Jul 21 2008Jul 23 2008

Publication series

Name44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit

Other

Other44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
CountryUnited States
CityHartford, CT
Period7/21/087/23/08

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Energy(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Rovey, J. L., Stubbers, R. A., Jurczyk, B. E., Williams, M. J., Manley, F. T., & Ruzic, D. N. (2008). Plasma properties in the magnetic nozzle of an electron cyclotron resonance plasma source. In 44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit (44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit).