Carbon Nanotube Based Electric Propulsion Thrusters For Space applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: F49620-02-C-0093
Agency Tracking Number: F023-0171
Amount: $97,824.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
308 West Rosemary Street, Suite 209, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516
DUNS: 017945192
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Bo Gao
 (919) 928-8009
Business Contact
 Bai Shan
Title: CFO
Phone: (919) 928-8009
Research Institution
 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 Otto Zhou
 Applied and Materials Sci., Univ. of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599
 (919) 962-3297
 Nonprofit college or university
Small efficient cathodes have many applications in miniature space propulsion. Current thermionic emission cathodes have many drawbacks. These include low efficiency, difficulty of control and pulsation, and lack of miniaturization. ANI has developedproprietary thin film nanotube technologies that enable construction of cold cathodes with high current density, high stability, and rapid pulsation rate. Alkali metals have been shown to intercalate into nanotubes. Due to the extreme high enhancement(>1000 times) of the electric field Cs ions near the nanotube ends may be field emitted when the intercalated materials is positively biased, thus providing a new machnism for thrust generation in field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) systems. Wepropose to combine the two new technologies proposed here to build an all solid state FEEP micro thruster. In phase I we will: a) build a prototype carbon nanotube cold cathode with the emission current up to 1A, test the stability and durability undervarious vacuum and gas environments; b) demonstrate the feasibility of the field emitting Cs ions from Cs intercalated carbon nanotube materials and produce a design of the new FEEP thruster. In phase II we will build a prototype FEEL micro thruster usingnanotube based materials. The new generation of field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) micro thruster developed in this STTR will have a wide range of applications inclduing low orbit telecommunication satellites, long journey space craft, large areaflat panel display, and high power microwave amplifier devices for telecommunication.

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

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