Thrust imparted by a helicon plasma thruster is experimentally measured for two different diameter source tubes. The measurements demonstrate that the thrust-over-power of the helicon thruster can be increased by enlarging the source diameter. This result is qualitatively understood with a simple analysis connecting a global model in the source and a one-dimensional magnetic nozzle model, where the model does not include the magnetic field effect in the source and the cross-field diffusion effect in the magnetic nozzle. A mass flow rate of propellant argon and a magnetic field strength are experimentally surveyed; then the thrust of ∼18 mN is obtained for the rf power of 1 kW, the 95 mm diameter source, and the largest solenoid current being tested, while the maximum thrust for the 26 mm diameter source is only 5 mN. Furthermore the rf power is increased up to ∼6 kW and a thrust close to 60 mN is obtained.
|Journal||Plasma Sources Science and Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 2015 Aug 13|
- electric propulsion
- helicon thruster
- thrust measurement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics