The Use of Boron Nitride for Improved Cold-Cathode Electron Field Emission Technology

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$749,929.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
FA9550-04-C-0061
Agency Tracking Number:
F033-0354
Solicitation Year:
2003
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF03T016
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
ELECTRODYNAMIC APPLICATIONS, INC.
P.O. Box 131460, Ann Arbor, MI, 48113
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Y
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
610511334
Principal Investigator:
Jonathan Van Noord
Senior Engineer
(734) 930-6692
vannoord@edapplications.com
Business Contact:
Brian Gilchrist
President/Treasurer
(734) 930-6692
gilchrist@edapplications.com
Research Institution:
University of Michigan
Tom Zdeba
Div of Research Devel & Admin, Room 1058; 3003 So.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
(734) 764-8510
Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
Low-power Hall thrusters offer potentially important advantages for certain military applications but issues of lifetime and efficiency degradation at lower powers are issues hindering its utilization. A factor impacting efficiency is that the state-of-the-art techniques for electron generation used for neutralization (such as hollow cathodes operating on the same propellant as the thruster) do not scale down in mass, power, and propellant consumption as readily as the miniaturized thrusters themselves. This proposal out-lines the development of a field emitter cathode utilizing the chemically inert, tough, low work-function ma-terial Boron Nitride (BN) and corresponding testing of a low power Hall thruster to better understand cath-ode integration. The desirable characteristics of leading electron emission materials such as molybdenum tips and Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) are well known. However, the chemical reactivity of these materials, especially carbon, in oxidizing environments presents significant limitations with respect to their applica-tion in Hall thrusters and other propulsion technologies (both operational and handling factors). The propel-lantless nature of this approach eliminates the neutralizer as a degrading factor for efficiency and its supe-rior material properties offer the possibility of long lifetime operation.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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