Ion energy measurements in a direct wave-drive thruster

Matthew S. Feldman, Edgar Y. Choueiriy, Benjamin A. Jornsz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


An experiment designed to demonstrate ion acceleration in a DirectWave-Drive Thruster (DWDT) was constructed. A DWDT is a new propulsion concept that relies on waves to transfer momentum directly to a plasma without electrodes. In order to demonstrate the existence of accelerated ions, the ion energy distribution function in the plume was mea- sured with a retarding potential analyzer (RPA) for varying powers delivered to the wave launching antenna. For antenna powers up to 700 W, the number of higher energy ions in the distribution function increases, which is consistent with ion acceleration. In order to rule out any spurious effects from the RPA, an insulating plate was placed in front of the RPA, which reduced the number high energy ions in the measured distribution func-tions. The measured increase in the high energy tail of the ion energy distribution function provides evidence for part of a proof-of-concept experiment of the DWDT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624103216
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, 2015 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jul 27 2015Jul 29 2015

Publication series

Name51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference


Conference51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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