Control of the electric-field profile in the Hall thruster through the positioning of an additional electrode along the channel is shown theoretically to enhance the efficiency. The reduction of the potential drop near the anode by use of the additional electrode increases the plasma density there, through the increase of the electron and ion transit times, causing the ionization in the vicinity of the anode to increase. The resulting separation of the ionization and acceleration regions increases the propellant and energy utilizations. An abrupt sonic transition is forced to occur at the axial location of the additional electrode, accompanied by the generation of a large (theoretically infinite) electric field. This ability to generate a large electric field at a specific location along the channel, in addition to the ability to specify the electric potential there, allows us further control of the electric-field profile in the thruster. In particular, when the electron temperature is high, a large abrupt voltage drop is induced at the vicinity of the additional electrode, a voltage drop that can comprise a significant part of the applied voltage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics