Faraday cup design for low power electric thrusters – 22 January 2021

Authors: V. Hugonnaud, S. Mazouffre, D. Krejci, C. Scharlemann, and B. Seifert

Published On: January 22, 2021

Event: SPACE PROPULSION 2020+1, IEPC-2022-164


This paper deals with plasma diagnostic in the frame of the plume study of low power electric propulsion (EP) devices. The work introduces information enabling optimization and standardization of an electrostatic plasma diagnostic known as Faraday Cup (FC). This instrument is used to accurately map in two or three dimensions the ion beam profile produced by an electric propulsion (EP) device [1, 2, 3, 4]. Results focus on the design of a Faraday cup in terms of probe aperture diameter, collection solid angle and material exposed to the ion beam.  Additionally, modification of the equipotential field lines inside the probe are studied. The goal is to contribute to the effort towards repetitive and reliable determination of an EP device performance map (i.e. thrust, divergence angle, ionization efficiency and propellant utilization).

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