Carbon Nanotube Based Electric Propulsion Thrusters For Space applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Small efficient cathodes have many applications in miniature space propulsion. Current thermionic emission cathodes have many drawbacks. These include low efficiency, difficulty of control and pulsation, and lack of miniaturization. ANI has developedproprietary thin film nanotube technologies that enable construction of cold cathodes with high current density, high stability, and rapid pulsation rate. Alkali metals have been shown to intercalate into nanotubes. Due to the extreme high enhancement(>1000 times) of the electric field Cs ions near the nanotube ends may be field emitted when the intercalated materials is positively biased, thus providing a new machnism for thrust generation in field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) systems. Wepropose to combine the two new technologies proposed here to build an all solid state FEEP micro thruster. In phase I we will: a) build a prototype carbon nanotube cold cathode with the emission current up to 1A, test the stability and durability undervarious vacuum and gas environments; b) demonstrate the feasibility of the field emitting Cs ions from Cs intercalated carbon nanotube materials and produce a design of the new FEEP thruster. In phase II we will build a prototype FEEL micro thruster usingnanotube based materials. The new generation of field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) micro thruster developed in this STTR will have a wide range of applications inclduing low orbit telecommunication satellites, long journey space craft, large areaflat panel display, and high power microwave amplifier devices for telecommunication.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Applied Nanotechnologies, Inc.
308 West Rosemary Street, Suite 209 Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Number of Employees:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Applied and Materials Sci., Univ. of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Nonprofit college or university