- Restrictions on Access:
- Open Access.
- This thesis presents progress on the development of the Miniature Microwave-Frequency Ion Thruster (MMIT), currently being developed at Penn State as a microthruster with high specific impulse that can be used on small satellites for station keeping, attitude adjustments, and modest delta-V maneuvers. The MMIT works by generating a microwave electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) discharge plasma, then accelerating ions through a series of electrostatic grids. Using argon as the propellant, the MMIT can start with as low as 2.6 W of total absorbed power from a 4.98-GHz coaxial input power source. For the current MMIT iteration, our research thrusts have been threefold: demonstrating plasma generation; sustaining and containing the plasma; and extracting the ion beam. We have largely focused on optimizing the geometry of the magnets and antenna used for ECR plasma generation; defining the geometry of the chamber for containment of the plasma; and developing grid geometries for efficient beam extraction. Progress to date toward a functional prototype has leveraged numerical simulations and experimental measurements on the proof-of-concept design, which we are currently further optimizing. A Langmuir probe is used to measure ion density and temperature in the plume as well as beam current, and a Faraday cup is used to measure the current density of the beam. The measurements obtained from these probes are used as the basis for determining a calculated thrust for the MMIT.
- Dissertation Note:
- M.S. Pennsylvania State University 2018.
- Technical Details:
- The full text of the dissertation is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file ; Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file.
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