Supersonic plasma beams with controlled speed generated by the alternative low power hybrid ion engine (ALPHIE) for space propulsion

Conde Lazaro, Luis and Domenech Garret, Juan Luis and Donoso Cortés, J. M. and Tierno, S.P. and Alamillo-Gamboa, E. and Castillo, M.A. (2017). Supersonic plasma beams with controlled speed generated by the alternative low power hybrid ion engine (ALPHIE) for space propulsion. "Physics of Plasmas", v. 24 (n. 12); p. 123514. ISSN 1070-664X. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5005881.

Description

Title: Supersonic plasma beams with controlled speed generated by the alternative low power hybrid ion engine (ALPHIE) for space propulsion
Author/s:
  • Conde Lazaro, Luis
  • Domenech Garret, Juan Luis
  • Donoso Cortés, J. M.
  • Tierno, S.P.
  • Alamillo-Gamboa, E.
  • Castillo, M.A.
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Physics of Plasmas
Date: December 2017
ISSN: 1070-664X
Volume: 24
Subjects:
Faculty: E.T.S. de Ingeniería Aeronáutica y del Espacio (UPM)
Department: Física Aplicada a las Ingenierías Aeronáutica y Naval
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

The characteristics of supersonic ion beams from the alternative low power hybrid ion engine (ALPHIE) are discussed. This simple concept of a DC powered plasma accelerator that only needs one electron source for both neutral gas ionization and ion beam neutralization is also examined. The plasma production and space charge neutralization processes are thus coupled in this plasma thruster that has a total DC power consumption of below 450 W, and uses xenon or argon gas as a propellant. The operation parameters of the plasma engine are studied in the laboratory in connection with the ion energy distribution function obtained with a retarding-field energy analyzer. The ALPHIE plasma beam expansion produces a mesothermal plasma flow with two-peaked ion energy distribution functions composed of low and high speed ion groups. The characteristic drift velocities of the fast ion groups, in the range 36.6?43.5 km/s, are controlled by the acceleration voltage. These supersonic speeds are higher than the typical ion sound velocities of the low energy ion group produced by the expansion of the plasma jet. The temperatures of the slow ion population lead to ion Debye lengths longer than the electron Debye lengths. Furthermore, the electron impact ionization can coexist with collisional ionization by fast ions downstream the grids. Finally, the performance characteristics and comparisons with other plasma accelerator schemes are also discussed.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Government of SpainESP2013-41078-RUnspecifiedUnspecifiedDesarrollo y caracterización de un sistema híbrido de propulsión espacial por plasma de bajo consumo eléctrico

More information

Item ID: 58692
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/58692/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:58692
DOI: 10.1063/1.5005881
Official URL: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5005881
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 03 Feb 2021 10:08
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2021 10:08
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