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Accueil > A propos du LPP > Communication > Actualités archivées > 2018 > Towards a better understanding of the ‘anomalous’ transport of electrons in a Hall effect thruster

Towards a better understanding of the ‘anomalous’ transport of electrons in a Hall effect thruster

A new challenge coupling experiments, theoretical studies, high performance computing and simulations

Since November 2016, LPP is leading an ANR industrial chair POSEIDON on « future plasma thrusters for low-Earth orbit satellite propulsion systems » in collaboration with Safran aircraft engines. Among the different electric propulsion systems, Safran aircraft engines develops and sells Hall effect Thrusters for orbital propulsion and control of space probes and satellites. A key issue for Safran aircraft engines in coming years is to develop low power (few hundreds W) Hall effect thrusters to address the exploding market of small satellites in low-Earth orbits (i.e. at altitudes from 500 to 2000 km).
In the frame of the ANR industrial chair POSEIDON, three key plasma processes that have direct relevance to the thruster performance and lifetime of Hall effect thrusters are studied : anomalous transport of electrons and plasma instabilities, plasma interaction with walls and erosion, as well as the question of alternative propellants.
Already, some new results have been obtained at LPP on the anomalous transport of electrons with, in particular, the derivation of a new theoretical model for the electron mobility and its validation by a detailed parametric study carried out with 2D PIC simulations [1-6] carried out with the parallelized code LPPic2D developed at LPP.
In parallel, in collaboration with Safran aircraft engines, a prototype of a low power Hall effect thruster has been developed and is currently tested at PIVOINE 2G at Orleans. A new phase of the project is to carry out innovative experiments on the anomalous transport of electrons in a low-pressure, low-temperature magnetized plasma similar to the one obtained in a Hall effect thruster. For this, a new reactor has been built at LPP (figure 1). The comparison of experimental results with theoretical derivations and with simulation results obtained with high performance computing should allow a breakthrough in the understanding of the anomalous transport of electrons and plasma instabilities in the complex magnetized plasmas encountered in Hall effect thrusters.

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Figure 1 : photo du réacteur

[1]Lafleur T., Chabert P., The role of instability-enhanced friction on ‘anomalous’ electron and ion transport in Hall-effect thrusters, Plasma Sources Science and Technology 27 (1) 015003 (2018)
[2] Lafleur T., Martorelli R., Chabert P., Bourdon A., Anomalous electron transport in Hall-effect thrusters : Comparison between quasi-linear kinetic theory and particle-in-cell simulations, Physics of Plasmas 25 (6) 061202 (2018)
[3] Croes V., Lafleur T., Bonaventura Z., Bourdon A., Chabert P., 2D particle-in-cell simulations of the electron drift instability and associated anomalous electron transport in Hall-effect thrusters, Plasma Sources Science and Technology 26 (3) 034001 (2017)
[4] Lafleur T., Baalrud S. D., Chabert P., Characteristics and transport effects of the electron drift instability in Hall-effect thrusters, Plasma Sources Science and Technology 26 (2) 024008 (2017)
[5] Lafleur T., Baalrud S. D., Chabert P., Theory for the anomalous electron transport in Hall effect thrusters. II. Kinetic model, Physics of Plasmas 23 (5) 053503 (2016)
[6] Lafleur T., Baalrud S. D., Chabert P., Theory for the anomalous electron transport in Hall effect thrusters. I. Insights from particle-in-cell simulations, Physics of Plasmas 23 (5) 053502 (2016)


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Tutelles : CNRS Ecole Polytechnique Sorbonne Université Université Paris Sud Observatoire de Paris Convention : CEA
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Exploitant du site : Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique route de Saclay F-91128 PALAISEAU CEDEX
Hébergeur : Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique route de Saclay F-91128 PALAISEAU CEDEX
Directeur de la publication : Pascal Chabert (Directeur)