The University of Southampton

Alexander Daykin-Iliopoulos PhD in Electronic Engineering, fourth year

Developing high powered hollow cathodes for spacecraft propulsion

A great highlight of my time so far has been going to Japan for the International Electric Propulsion Conference and presenting my research to an international audience.

The ever-increasing demand on spacecraft size requires ever-larger propulsion systems. PhD student Alexander Daykin-Ilioulos is working on the next generation of propulsion systems, which will allow for greater exploration of the solar system and beyond.

Alexander works within the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory on an international partnership programme with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop high powered hollow cathodes for spacecraft propulsion. The hollow cathode is one of the key components for modern propulsion thruster designs, emitting electrons for long-time space applications.

“It is a privilege to be a part of such a process,” say Alexander. “A great highlight of my time so far has been going to Japan for the International Electric Propulsion Conference and presenting my research to an international audience.”

The partnership with JAXA  aims to establish the scaling laws and physical modelling of hollow cathodes for a variety of current classes; develop a 100-A-class hollow cathode design for future high power electric propulsion; and enable space applications of high power electric propulsion in Japan and the UK based on the cathode technology achieved by this collaboration.

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