NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 99-1 22.01-0311 (Chron: 990334)

PROJECT TITLE: Field Emission Micro-Thrusters

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Current field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) thrusters are limited by low thrust, high power consumption and very high voltage operation. In this project, we propose an innovative approach to obtaining enhanced emission of highly ionized, uniformly sized clusters from these types of thrusters that can dramatically increase the thrust producing capabilities. The proposed modification, namely use of electrohydrodynamics based modulation of the emitting liquid surface will also produce more uniform size distribution of the emitted clusters. In Phase I we will build and test a simple geometry thruster and demonstrate enhanced emission. We will also install the new thruster in the Thruster Test Facility at Princeton University and measure the increase in thrust resulting from the use of the enhanced emission mode. In Phase II we will build an ultra-compact MEMS based field thruster that will utilize the enhancements demonstrated in Phase I. The use of MEMS structure will enable to dramatically decrease the high voltages needed for beam extraction. We believe that the innovations proposed in this project will result in a very compact, lightweight, low power consumption thruster that will be suitable for small to medium satellite applications.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

The POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS of this field emission thruster technology include use in commercial communications satellites and emerging commercial spacecraft industries. In addition, the core field ion and droplet emission technology has applications in focussed beam repair systems for integrated chips, multi-chip modules and flat panel displays. Furthermore, this core technology can be used for rapid prtotyping applications as well. The field ion emission is very similar to the rapidly emerging field electron emission technology that is useful in huge markets such as field emission displays, coolers, printers, x-ray sources and high performance vacuum microelectronic devices.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

 
Nalin Kumar, Ph.D.
UHV Technologies, Inc.
113B West Park Drive
Mount Laurel , NJ 08054 - 1278

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR


UHV Technologies, Inc. 
113B West Park Drive
Mount Laurel , NJ 08054 - 1278