This project aims to investigate the performance of hollow cathode emitters which are used primarily in space propulsion applications. High pumping rate turbo pumps allow the vacuum chamber to simulate the space environment even when significant propellant gas flow rates are used. The current investigation encompasses the following elements:
The use of alternative propellant gasses.
Novel methods of lowering effective work function.
Spot to plume transition.
Analysis of optical emission spectra.
Development of probe measurement techniques.
The vacuum facilities and measurement capabilities developed in this work are now offered for commercial testing of third party devices at the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory.