Comparison of a hybrid model and experimental measurements for a dielectric-coated coaxial ECR thruster Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2023

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 13


  • 1


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-0252

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-6595


  • Electrostatic probe and thrust balance measurements of a coaxial electron-cyclotron-resonance plasma thruster with magnetic nozzle are compared against numerical simulations of the device that solve self-consistently the plasma transport problem with a hybrid particle-in-cell/fluid approach and the microwave electromagnetic fields using mixed finite elements. A simple phenomenological anomalous transport model similar to those used in Hall thruster modeling is applied. Reasonable average relative errors are reported on the ion current density (8.7%) and plasma density (12.8%) profiles along the plume. Good agreement is found in terms of relative errors on thruster performance parameters as the 90%-current divergence angle (0%–3%), utilization efficiency (3%–10%), peak ion energy (9%–15%), and energy efficiency (2%–17%). The comparison suggests that enhanced cross-field diffusion is present in the plasma. Differences in the experimental and numerical behavior of electron temperature point to the areas of the model that could be improved. These include the electron heat flux closure relation, which must correctly account for the axial electron cooling observed.


  • Aeronautics
  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Electronics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Engineering
  • Physics


  • ecrt; electrodeless plasma thruster; pic; fluid; electromagnetic