Computerized diagnostic system for the parameters of radio-frequency ion thruster output beam

Aircraft Engineering


Kozhevnikov V. V.1*, Smirnov A. A.1*, Smirnov P. E.1**, Cherny I. A.2

1. Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University), 4, Volokolamskoe shosse, Moscow, А-80, GSP-3, 125993, Russia
2. Russia Research Institute of Automatics (FSUE VNIIA), 22, Sushchevskaya str., Moscow, 127055, Russia



While studying operation of radio frequency ion thrusters, it is necessary to analyze its output beam parameters. A computerized diagnostic system was developed for this purpose comprising: probes for the determination of local plasma parameters inside the beam; three-dimensional coordinate mechanism for probes transportation; software and hardware control unit for the coordinate mechanism and for the collection and initial procession of test data. Faraday cup probe was used for the diagnostics of charged particles current inside the beam, as well as for the ion beam profile determination. Angular divergence of the ion beam was used to define thrust losses. Retarding potential analyzer was used for the ion energy determination. That helped us to define thrust losses in view of the known densities of charged particles of different types. The ExB filter was developed to determine densities of multiply charged ions. Charged particles separation in the crossed electric and magnetic fields was provided by such filter. Determination of the electric field distribution in the beam is rather interesting, because it allows calculation for the charged particle motion in the beam.
The diagnostic system was developed on the basis of the laboratory at the Electric Propulsion and Space Power Plants Department of the Moscow Aviation Institute.


radio-frequency ion thruster, beam diagnostic system, probes


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