New paper: thrust measurements of a waveguide electron cyclotron resonance thruster

Our new research paper “Thrust measurements of a waveguide electron cyclotron resonance thruster” just got published in the Journal of Applied Physics. We are especially happy that it was also selected by the editor as “Editor’s Pick”!

For this work, direct thrust measurements were performed on a circular waveguide electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) thruster working at 5.8 GHz using a pendulum thrust balance with mechanically amplified displacement. Thrust levels between 1 and 3.5 mN were found for power levels in the range of 60–350 W and xenon flow rate between 2 and 8 SCCM. A maximum thrust efficiency of 3.5% was reached at 2 SCCM and 60 W. Plasma plume diagnostics were used to estimate the thruster partial efficiencies to understand the main losses, and to perform a comparative analysis between directly and indirectly measured thrust. Results suggest that the low energy conversion efficiency and propellant utilization efficiency (⁠ <6.4% and < 53%, respectively) are the key factors spoiling the ECR thruster performance. Finally, retarding potential analyzer measurements show the presence of energetic electrons with energy tail up to about 300 eV.

You can access the accepted version of the paper here. The experimental data are maide availiable through Zenodo.

Authored by: odriva
2024-03-08
Categories: news

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