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Plasma Sci. Technol. ›› 2018, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 045502.doi: 10.1088/2058-6272/aaa8d9

• Plasma Technology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Numerical research of a 2D axial symmetry hybrid model for the radio-frequency ion thruster

Chenchen WU (吴辰宸), Xinfeng SUN (孙新锋), Zuo GU (顾左) and Yanhui JIA (贾艳辉)   


  1. National Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Vacuum Technology and Physics, Lanzhou Institute of Physics, Lanzhou 730000, People’s Republic of China
  • Received:2017-11-07 Published:2018-01-18


Since the high efficiency discharge is critical to the radio-frequency ion thruster (RIT), a 2D axial symmetry hybrid model has been developed to study the plasma evolution of RIT. The fluid method and the drift energy correction of the electron energy distribution function (EEDF) are applied to the analysis of the RIT discharge. In the meantime, the PIC-MCC method is used to investigate the ion beam current extraction character for the plasma plume region. The beam current simulation results, with the hybrid model, agree well with the experimental results, and the error is lower than 11%, which shows the validity of the model. The further study shows there is an optimal ratio for the radio-frequency (RF) power and the beam current extraction power under the fixed RIT configuration. And the beam extraction efficiency will decrease when the discharge efficiency beyond a certain threshold (about 87 W). As the input parameters of the hybrid model are all the design values, it can be directly used to the optimum design for other kinds of RITs and radio-frequency ion sources.

Key words: radio-frequency ion thruster, axial symmetry hybrid model, beam current extraction, COSMOL multiphysics