Simulations of driven breathing modes of a magnetically shielded Hall thruster Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2023

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 19


  • 7, 075011


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-0252

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-6595


  • The operation of a 5 kW-class magnetically shielded Hall effect thruster with sinusoidal modulation of the discharge voltage is investigated through simulations with a 2D axisymmetric hybrid (particle-in-cell/fluid) code. The dynamic response of the thruster for different modulation amplitudes and frequencies is presented and discussed. The analysis of partial efficiencies contributing to thrust efficiency allows identifying counteracting effects limiting net gains in performance figures. Voltage modulation enhances the amplitude of plasma oscillations and can effectively control their frequency when the modulation frequency is close to that of the natural breathing mode (BM) of the thruster. The 2D plasma solution reveals that the dynamics of the ionization cycle are governed by the electron temperature response, enabling a driven BM at the modulation frequency. For modulation frequencies far from the natural BM one, voltage modulation fails to control the plasma production via the electron temperature, and the natural BM of the thruster is recovered. High order dynamic mode decomposition applied to the 2D plasma solution permits analyzing the complex spatio-temporal behavior of the plasma discharge oscillations, revealing the main characteristics of natural and externally driven modes.


  • Aeronautics
  • Naval Engineering
  • Physics


  • hall thruster; magnetic shielding; voltage modulation; particle-in-cell; breathing mode