A high density magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) plasma under a magnetic nozzle is produced with a low gas flow rate of argon by combining helicon and MPD plasma sources, where a cathode and an anode are located upstream and downstream of the helicon source, respectively. Once the high density helicon plasma is produced in the source tube, a pulsed current of a few kA is triggered between the cathode and anode. A plasma density above 1020m-3 and a supersonic plasma flow (Mach number of ∼1.8) are obtained at ∼10 cm downstream of the source exit. As the thrust efficiency estimated from the measured plasma parameters is much higher than that of the simple MPD thruster, the helicon MPD thruster being proposed and tested potentially provides more efficient high-power plasma thruster.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)