ELECTROSTATIC ION THRUSTERS - TOWARDS PREDICTIVE MODELING

Julia Duras, Oleksander Kalentev, Ralf Schneider, Konstantin Matyash, Karl Felix Lüskow, Jürgen Geiser

Abstract


For satellite missions, thrusters have to be qualified in large vacuum vessels to simulate space environment. One caveat of these experiments is the possible  modification of the beam properties due to the interaction of the energetic ions with the  vessel walls. Impinging ions can produce sputtered impurities or secondary  electrons from the wall. These can stream back into the acceleration channel of the  thruster and produce co-deposited layers. Over the long operation time of thousands  of hours, such layers can modify the optimized geometry and induce changes of the ion beam properties, e.g. broadening of the angular distribution and thrust reduction. To study such effects, a Monte Carlo code for the simulation of the interaction of ion thruster beams with vessel  walls was developed. Strategies to overcome sputter limitations by additional baffles are  studied with the help of this Monte-Carlo erosion code.


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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague