Stable operation of a cylindrical Hall thruster has been achieved using a hot wire cathode, which functions as a controllable electron emission source. It is shown that as the electron emission from the cathode increases with wire heating, the discharge current increases, the plasma plume angle reduces, and the ion energy distribution function shifts toward higher energies. The observed effect of cathode electron emission on thruster parameters extends and clarifies performance improvements previously obtained for the overrun discharge current regime of the same type of thruster, but using a hollow cathode neutralizer. Once thruster discharge current saturates with wire heating, further filament heating does not affect other discharge parameters. The saturated values of thruster discharge parameters can be further enhanced by optimal placement of the cathode wire with respect to the magnetic field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)