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Persistent URL http://purl.org/net/epubs/work/49550
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Record Id 49550
Title Field emission performance of multiwalled carbon nanotubes for a low-power spacecraft neutraliser
Abstract Field electron emission from aligned multiwalled carbon nanotubes has been assessed to determine if the performance, defined by power consumption, lifetime and emission currents, is suitable for use in spacecraft charge neutralisation for field emission electric propulsion (FEEP). Carbon nanotubes grown by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) were mounted on a dual in line chip with a macroscopic (nickel mesh) extractor electrode mounted ~1mm above the tubes. The nanotubes' field emission characteristics (emission currents, electron losses and operating voltage) were measured at ~10-4 Pa. An endurance test of one sample, running at a software-controlled constant emission current lasted >1400 hours, approaching the longest known FEEP thruster lifetime. The emission corresponds to a current density of ~10 mAcm-2 at a voltage of 150V. These results, implementing mature extractor-electrode geometry, indicate that carbon nanotubes have considerable potential for development as robust, low-power, long-lived electron emitters for use in space.
Organisation SSTD , STFC
Keywords Carbon nanotubes , spacecraft charging , Physics , electric propulsion , field emission
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Language English (EN)
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Journal Article Acta Astronautica 64 (2009): 875-881. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2008.10.012 2009