Autonomous Field Emission Cathodes for Electrically Propelled Nanosats

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: W31P4Q-04-C-R078
Agency Tracking Number: 03SB2-0576
Amount: $98,968.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: SB032-051
Solicitation Number: 2003.2
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Charles Gasdaska
 Senior Scientist
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Research Institution
The objective for this Phase I program is to lay the foundation for the development of an autonomous electron source for use with electrically propelled nanosats. Electric propulsion offers high specific impulse, and in the case of electrodynamic tethers, "propellant-less" operation. The electron source will be based upon field emission from C-nanotubes. It will function as a "drop-in" component with simplified interface to nanosat power supply and controls. The project will develop a low-cost fabrication technique for field emitter arrays and integrate the array in a small package that combines power and control electronics. Cost will be as important a benchmark as performance. Current capabilities are expected to range up to 1 mA and operating voltages should be < 100 volts, depending on the electrical current requirements. For nanosat applications, where currents in the microamp range will be needed, operating voltages < 50 volts should be obtained. The unit will be capable of operating from a low voltage spacecraft power supply.

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

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