Plume characterization of a waveguide ECR thruster Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2023

start page

  • 113304-1

end page

  • 113304-14


  • 11


  • 133

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-8979

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1089-7550


  • A circular waveguide electron cyclotron resonance plasma thruster prototype driven by microwaves at 5.8 GHz (80-300 W) is characterized. The magnetic field is generated by a combination of Sm-CoYXG32 magnets and an electromagnet, which enables the tuning of the resonance position and magnetic nozzle shape. The main plasma plume properties are analyzed by using electrostatic probes when the mass flow rate (Xenon), microwave power, electromagnet current, and propellant injector design are varied. An estimation of the propulsive performance of the device is also presented. Results show that a single radial injector hole is not sufficient for a symmetric ion current profile and that magnetic nozzle shape and strength tuning can significantly affect the divergence angle and thruster floating potential. A utilization efficiency of up to 70% and electron temperatures of up to 16 eV have been measured.


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