NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-F7.01-9596 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 033409)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:High Power Electric Propulsion For Human Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE:Long Life Cold Cathodes for Hall effect Thrusters

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stellar Micro Devices
2020 Centimeter Circle
Austin ,TX 78758 - 4956
(512) 997 - 7781

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ronald   Hellmer
ronhellmer@yahoo.com
2020 Centimeter Circle
Austin ,TX  78758 -4956
(512) 997 - 7781
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
An electron source incorporating long life, high current density cold cathodes inside a microchannel plate for use with ion thrusters is proposed. Cathode lifetime in the harsh environment of an ion thruster has been a major issue with cold cathode sources. The anticipated long life with the proposed technology is due to the combination of three design features. The first feature is the choice of an edge emitter geometry known to be much more robust compared to other geometries such as tip emitters or nanotube configurations. The second feature is the choice of carbon as the emitter material. Carbon is well known for resistance to damage from ion bombardment. The third feature is the deposition of the carbon edge emitter inside one end of a channel plate. The channel plate provides some shielding from the thruster ion stream. A further benefit could be realized by using a standard electron multiplying channel plate so as to also greatly increase the electron density of the source.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
In addition to it?s primary use as an electron source, addition of a MEMs fuel delivery system along with addressable electrodes on the microchannel plate has been proposed as a matrix addressable ion thruster (MADIT). The application for MADIT is the precision maneuvering of small satellites.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Commercial markets for LLCC FEAs are the TWT, klystron and other microwave power tube markets. With glass CPs, a couple of dozen CPs can be loaded in SMD?s deposition chambers at a time and deposition times should be under a few hours, so SMD already has sufficient capacity for meeting demand of the TWT market. Moving to etched Si will lower costs and increase throughput. Cathodes which can withstand ion bombardment at low currents and low duty cycles are also highly desired for applications in X-ray detectors that use gas (Xe, Ne, Ar) amplification.