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Energy and Velocity Analyzer for Distributions of Electric Rockets

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC19C0546
Agency Tracking Number: 192644
Amount: $125,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T2
Solicitation Number: STTR_19_P1
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-09-18
Small Business Information
1180 La Eda Lane, Fort Collins, CO, 80526-4415
DUNS: 809071538
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Casey Farnell
 (970) 581-2239
 casey.farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Business Contact
 Casey Farnell
Phone: (970) 581-2239
Email: casey.farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Research Institution
 COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
 Sponsored Programs; 601 S. Howes St.
Fort Collins, CO, 80523-2002
 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
Abstract
Plasma Controls, LLC (SBC) and Colorado State University (RI) will mature an energy and species plasma diagnostic for use with plasma thrusters. The combined Energy and Velocity Analyzer for Distributions of Electric Rockets, or the lsquo;E-VADERrsquo;, is needed especially for characterizing the plasma plume of Hall thrusters, where researchers desire to know ion energies and charged species fractions emitted from the plume region. When used as a standalone device, traditional species analyzers called ExB probes or Wein filters, which filter particles according to their velocity, can have overlapping signal features due to the unique energy and charge distribution functions of Hall thrusters ndash; specifically wide energy ranges and large concentrations of multiply-charged species. These characteristics make analysis of traditional diagnostic tools impossible. Plasma Controls and CSU will combine an electrostatic energy analyzer (ESA) to the front end of an ExB velocity filter that will allow researchers to measure in high fidelity not only the ion energy per charge distribution (E/q), but also the charge state fraction (q) at any, arbitrarily selected energy. The diagnostic can additionally be used to differentiate charged particles of different mass, such as in modern propellants like water and iodine (distinguishing H+ vs O2+, or I2+ versus I+ for example). The E-VADER probe is tolerant of a wide range of propellants and power density because it is fabricated primarily of graphite, which has an increased resistance to corrosion, sputtering, and heat. We will combine our existing ESA and ExB diagnostics into an easily configurable device for testing in Phase I with an aim toward developing a well-understood, calibrated, trouble-free, and straightforward-to-use research and analysis tool in Phase II for both non-specialist and advanced customers.

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

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