Two-Dimensional Micro-Colloid Thruster Fabrication
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
In colloidal propulsion, there have been significant improvements in 1-D micro-fabricated arrays operating in the single Taylor cone per emitter regime. Unfortunately, this arrangement necessitates the construction of very large colloidal thrusters inefficiently utilizing a limited amount of area to produce suitable thrust. To maximize the density of individual colloidal emitters per unit area, a 2-D array is required. The state of the art technology used to create 2-D thrusters is to use MEMS based devices. Although very efficient in the use of material, MEMS based devices can be tricky to get "just right", and the production costs can be prohibitive. An alternative is to use commercially available fiber-optic cables constructed in such a way as to have a geometrically symmetrical arrangement of uniform holes running the length of the glass optical fiber. These optical fibers are referred to as "Holey" fibers. Connecticut Analytical Corporation has successfully demonstrated the use of these Holey fibers as a 2-D array. Holey fibers offer a self-regulating, passive hydrostatic feed source for colloidal propulsion use, based on a "wick-jet" concept conceived by Dr. John Fenn, 2002 Nobel Laureate Chemistry and principal consultant on this project. Team members also include MIT, Yale University, and NASA-JPL.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Connecticut Analytical Corp.
696 Amity Road Bethany, CT 06524
Number of Employees:
YALE & MIT UNIVERSITIES
9 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06510
Juan Fernandez de la Mora
Nonprofit college or university