Conventional annular Hall thrusters become inefficient when scaled to low power. Cylindrical Hall thrusters, which have lower surface-to-volume ratio, are therefore more promising for scaling down. They presently exhibit performance comparable with conventional annular Hall thrusters. Electron cross-field transport in a 2.6 cm miniaturized cylindrical Hall thruster (100 W power level) has been studied through the analysis of experimental data and Monte Carlo simulations of electron dynamics in the thruster channel. The numerical model takes into account elastic and inelastic electron collisions with atoms, electron-wall collisions, including secondary electron emission, and Bohm diffusion. It is shown that in order to explain the observed discharge current, the electron anomalous collision frequency V B has to be on the order of the Bohm value, V B ≈ ω c/16. The contribution of electron-wall collisions to cross-field transport is found to be insignificant.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics