Magnetic nozzle plume plasma simulation through Particle-In-Cell approach in a 3-D domain for a Helicon Plasma Thruster
Masters Thesis Presentation by C. Vesco
Time: Fri 2021-08-20 14.00 - 15.00
Lecturer: Cesare Vesco
Recent advances in plasma-based propulsion systems have led to the development of electromagnetic Radio-Frequency (RF) plasma generation and acceleration systems, called Helicon Plasma Thrusters (HPT). One of the pioneer companies developing this newtype of space propulsion is T4i Technology for Propulsion and Innovation s.p.a., with its cutting-edge project called REGULUS, among which this study has been performed. A crucial part of HPT systems is the acceleration region, where, by the means of amagnetic nozzle, the thermal energy of the plasma is converted into axial acceleration and, in turn, into thrust. This study is focused on the numerically simulation of the plasma dynamics in the acceleration stage, using Xenon gas. A three-dimensional fullParticle-In-Cell (PIC) simulation strategy is used to simulate the plume in the magnetic nozzle. The code developed for the plasma simulation is based on the open-source software Spacecraft Plasma Interaction Software (SPIS). The code has been conveniently modified and improved, neutrals and collision processes were added to evaluate their impact on the plasma properties. The features added improved the validity of the results, now one step closer to the physical reality.