Bismuth Hall Thruster Contamination Characterization and Mitigation

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$99,992.00
Award Year:
2008
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
FA9300-08-M-3007
Award Id:
86926
Agency Tracking Number:
F081-062-0580
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
1180 La Eda Lane, Fort Collins, CO, 80526
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
809071538
Principal Investigator:
Casey Farnell
Principal Investigator
(970) 581-2239
Casey.Farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Business Contact:
Casey Farnell
President, Plasma Controls, LLC
(970) 581-2239
Casey.Farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
Hall thrusters operated with bismuth propellant provide performance and cost advantages over devices operated with xenon propellant. However, bismuth propellant also has the potential to transport onto, and contaminate, spacecraft surfaces. Before the promise of bismuth thrusters can be exploited, the threat of contamination must be (1) quantified by Air Force (AF) modelers and (2) found to be mitigate-able. Before starting, the modelers require data on bismuth neutral and ion properties like condensation probability, sputter yield, charge exchange cross section, etc., as a function of energy, angle of incidence, surface material, etc. Other necessary data include the effects of bismuth film thickness on the optical properties (i.e., solar absorptivity and hemispherical emissivity) of cover glass, radiators, and Kapton blankets for example. Plasma Controls, LLC proposes to meet these AF needs through the development of robust plasma diagnostic tools that can operate in plasmas containing condensable conductive constituents. Our approach is to use an existing bismuth ion source along with existing vacuum chamber test facilities, sputter deposition tools, thin-film characterization instruments, and related support equipment of our collaborator, Colorado State University, to develop and test the proposed Plasma Controls diagnostic equipment and obtain preliminary bismuth data required by the Air Force.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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