Ion current extracted from an ion source (ion thruster) can be increased above the Child-Langmuir limit if the ion space charge is neutralized. Similarly, the limiting kinetic energy density of the plasma flow in a Hall thruster might be exceeded if additional mechanisms of space-charge neutralization are introduced. Space-charge neutralization with high-mass negative ions or negatively charged dust particles seems, in principle, promising for the development of a high current or high energy density source of positive light ions. Several space-charge neutralization schemes that employ heavy negatively charged particles are considered. It is shown that the proposed neutralization schemes can lead, at best, only to a moderate but nonetheless possibly important increase of the ion current in the ion thruster and the thrust density in the Hall thruster.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics