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Article

Experimental Characterization of the Capacitively Coupled RF-Plasma Thruster

Institute for Plasma Technology and Basics of Electrical Engineering, Bundeswehr University Munich, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39, 85579 Neubiberg, Germany
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Academic Editor: Emilio Martines
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6799; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156799
Received: 29 June 2021 / Revised: 19 July 2021 / Accepted: 20 July 2021 / Published: 23 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmas for Space Propulsion)
A novel design of a neutralizer-free plasma thruster is proposed. This setup features a capacitively coupled RF discharge for plasma generation combined with a magnetic nozzle configuration for acceleration. Characteristics of the plasma plume and ions flux are investigated with the help of emissive probes and retarding potential analyzers (RPA). Essential parameters of the thruster like ions energy, ions flux, utilization efficiencies, and thrust are estimated. The investigated system produces a beam of ions accelerated to an energy of 10 eV when operated at power levels of ~20 W and a mass flow of 1.2 mg/s. The ion energy coincides with the potential drop in the plasma plume indicating that the acceleration takes place due the formation of an ambipolar electric field in the expanding plasma. The design is compared to the data available of other similar thrusters. View Full-Text
Keywords: capacitively coupled discharge; radio frequency discharge; plasma thruster; emissive probes; retarding potential analyzer capacitively coupled discharge; radio frequency discharge; plasma thruster; emissive probes; retarding potential analyzer
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MDPI and ACS Style

Smirnov, P.; Kozakov, R.; Schein, J. Experimental Characterization of the Capacitively Coupled RF-Plasma Thruster. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 6799. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156799

AMA Style

Smirnov P, Kozakov R, Schein J. Experimental Characterization of the Capacitively Coupled RF-Plasma Thruster. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(15):6799. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156799

Chicago/Turabian Style

Smirnov, Pavel, Ruslan Kozakov, and Jochen Schein. 2021. "Experimental Characterization of the Capacitively Coupled RF-Plasma Thruster" Applied Sciences 11, no. 15: 6799. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156799

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