Cusped-field hall thrusters

Objective of the Research 

The Divergent Cusped Field Thruster (DCF, or DCFT), developed at SPL is a concept belonging to the general family of Hall devices, but being clearly distinguished by the use of a cylindrical set of magnetic cusps for electron confinement, in replacement of the simple radial field of common Hall thrusters. This has, among others, the effect of avoiding the use of a central pole piece, which reduces exposed surface area and facilitates miniaturization as well as diagnostic access. In addition, the confining effect on the plasma (magnetic in the case of the electrons, electrostatic in that of the ions) is very strong here, and only very small portions of the insulating casing are at all accessible to the plasma, with possibly beneficial effect on life. The divergent geometry was adopted in an attempt to further reduce ion impingement near the exit plane and to better understand the effect of magnetic topography towards mitigating erosion.

Figure 1 - Diverging Cusped-Field Thrusters

 

Current research into cusped-field thrustershas been dedicated towards the following aspects:
1: Design and fabrication of cusped-field test thrusters

2: Erosion studies

3: Fully kinetic thruster modeling

 

Fig 2. The MIT-Cylindrical Cusped-Field Thruster(SPL).

 

 

For further information, please contact David Krejci