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Carbon NanotubeCopper Composite as Electron Emitter for Passive Spacecraft Discharging

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-18-P-0238
Agency Tracking Number: F18A-011-0101
Amount: $149,986.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF18A-T011
Solicitation Number: 2018.0
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-17
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-07-17
Small Business Information
701 McMillian Way NW
Huntsville, AL 35806
United States
DUNS: 185169620
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Dr. Dmytro Levko
 (256) 726-4800
Business Contact
 Tanu Singhal
Phone: (256) 726-4924
Research Institution
 Georgia Institute of Technology
 Teri Hansen
North Avenue Array
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

 (404) 894-6927
 Nonprofit College or University

This SBIR project will develop and demonstrate efficient electron emitter based on carbon nanotubecopper (CNT-Cu) composite for passive discharging of spacecraft in plasma environment. A spacecraft moving through harsh plasma environment collects electrons, which leads to the spacecraft charging up to several kilovolts. High voltage between different parts of the spacecraft can ignite arcing, which leads to mechanical damage of spacecraft surface, causes unexpected blackouts and even shutdowns. Today, this problem is solved either by spacecraft discharging by electron emission from auxiliary cathodes or special treatment of the spacecraft surface. In the latter, electric charge is deposited homogeneously to avoid potential build up between different parts of the spacecraft. The use of auxiliary cathodes requires additional power sources that increase the spacecraft mass. In Phase I, we will fabricate an electron emitter based on CNT-Cu composite and produce test samples of selected materials and measure their emissivity, sputtering and lifetime, which are expected to exceed that of emitters based on triple junctions. We will also model the electron emission from these materials in a plasma environment. Phase II will develop a prototype emitter from candidate material and demonstrate its superior properties under conditions typical for geostationary Earth orbits.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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