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An advanced electric propulsion diagnostic (AEPD) platform for in-situ characterization of electric propulsion thrusters and ion beam sources

Research paper by Carsten Bundesmann, Christoph Eichhorn; Frank Scholze; Daniel Spemann; Horst Neumann; Damiano Pagano; Simone Scaranzin; Fabrizio Scortecci; Hans J. Leiter; Sven Gauter; Ruben Wiese; Holger Kersten; Kristof Holste; Peter Köhler; Peter J. Klar; Stéphane Mazouffre; Richard Blott; Alexandra Bulit; Käthe Dannenmayer

Indexed on: 23 Oct '16Published on: 18 Oct '16Published in: The European Physical Journal D



Abstract

Abstract Experimental characterization is an essential task in development, qualification and optimization process of electric propulsion thrusters or ion beam sources for material processing, because it can verify that the thruster or ion beam source fulfills the requested mission or application requirements, and it can provide parameters for thruster and plasma modeling. Moreover, there is a need for standardizing electric propulsion thruster diagnostics in order to make characterization results of different thrusters and also from measurements performed in different vacuum facilities reliable and comparable. Therefore, we have developed an advanced electric propulsion diagnostic (AEPD) platform, which allows a comprehensive in-situ characterization of electric propulsion thrusters (or ion beam sources) and could serve as a standard on-ground tool in the future. The AEPD platform uses a five-axis positioning system and provides the option to use diagnostic tools for beam characterization (Faraday probe, retarding potential analyzer, ExB probe, active thermal probe), for optical inspection (telemicroscope, triangular laser head), and for thermal characterization (pyrometer, thermocamera). Here we describe the capabilities of the diagnostic platform and provide first experimental results of the characterization of a gridded ion thruster RIT-μX. Graphical abstract Abstract Experimental characterization is an essential task in development, qualification and optimization process of electric propulsion thrusters or ion beam sources for material processing, because it can verify that the thruster or ion beam source fulfills the requested mission or application requirements, and it can provide parameters for thruster and plasma modeling. Moreover, there is a need for standardizing electric propulsion thruster diagnostics in order to make characterization results of different thrusters and also from measurements performed in different vacuum facilities reliable and comparable. Therefore, we have developed an advanced electric propulsion diagnostic (AEPD) platform, which allows a comprehensive in-situ characterization of electric propulsion thrusters (or ion beam sources) and could serve as a standard on-ground tool in the future. The AEPD platform uses a five-axis positioning system and provides the option to use diagnostic tools for beam characterization (Faraday probe, retarding potential analyzer, ExB probe, active thermal probe), for optical inspection (telemicroscope, triangular laser head), and for thermal characterization (pyrometer, thermocamera). Here we describe the capabilities of the diagnostic platform and provide first experimental results of the characterization of a gridded ion thruster RIT-μX. Abstract Experimental characterization is an essential task in development, qualification and optimization process of electric propulsion thrusters or ion beam sources for material processing, because it can verify that the thruster or ion beam source fulfills the requested mission or application requirements, and it can provide parameters for thruster and plasma modeling. Moreover, there is a need for standardizing electric propulsion thruster diagnostics in order to make characterization results of different thrusters and also from measurements performed in different vacuum facilities reliable and comparable. Therefore, we have developed an advanced electric propulsion diagnostic (AEPD) platform, which allows a comprehensive in-situ characterization of electric propulsion thrusters (or ion beam sources) and could serve as a standard on-ground tool in the future. The AEPD platform uses a five-axis positioning system and provides the option to use diagnostic tools for beam characterization (Faraday probe, retarding potential analyzer, ExB probe, active thermal probe), for optical inspection (telemicroscope, triangular laser head), and for thermal characterization (pyrometer, thermocamera). Here we describe the capabilities of the diagnostic platform and provide first experimental results of the characterization of a gridded ion thruster RIT-μX. μ Graphical abstract Graphical abstract