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Re-generable Field Emission Cathodes

Award Information

Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
125290
Solicitation Year:
2012
Solicitation Topic Code:
S3.03
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Aerophysics, Inc.
2521 7 Mile Point Road Allouez, MI -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: Re-generable Field Emission Cathodes
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX13CC61P
Award Amount: $124,752.00
 

Abstract:

A significant challenge in scaling micro-propulsion devices up to 100s of Watts as well as scaling macro devices down to sub-kiloWatt level is the lack of a compatible neutralizer technology in the meso scale. Sub-kiloWatt EP systems require cathode technology that can produce sufficient current while consuming little or no gas or power. The most promising technology for meso-scale neutralizers is field emission. In field emission, electrons are extracted directly from a cold bulk solid material by an intense applied electric field at the solid-vacuum interface with no gas flow and no heating required. While many methods have been proposed to incorporate field-emission neutralizers in EP systems, the inherent fragility of the technology?specifically the reliance on solid structures with nanometer-radius tips?ensures that device failure due to tip degradation will be a near certainty for any application depending on field emission cathodes. The goal of research proposed here is to develop arrays of field-emission neutralizers for use in sub-1-kW EP that eliminate tip degradation not through attempts to minimize tip wear, but instead by incorporating self-assembling nanostructures that can repeatedly re-generate damaged emitter tips in space and fully restore the functionality of a damaged or degraded device.

Principal Investigator:

Jason M. Makela
Chief Engineer
9064871854
jmakela@aerophysicsinc.com

Business Contact:

Lyon King
President
9063702376
brad.king@aerophysicsinc.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Aerophysics, Inc.
2521 7 Mile Point Road Allouez, MI -

EIN/Tax ID: 383563247
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No