It’s been a long wait, but they are finally in! Presenting the first batch of custom machined porous glass emitters for the AIS-ILIS1 ionic liquid electrospray thruster! These are probably the coolest parts I have received, all for my most high-tech and ambitious thruster build yet!
Out of the 5 blanks sent for machining, 3 came out perfect, one was a test throw-away, and the other is not perfect but still use-able. However, seeing these parts for the first time in real life gives me a lot of confidence going forward that we will in fact see beam! These parts are at the core of the ILIS1, and are the most critical for operation of the thruster.
ILIS is among some of the newest and most hyped micro-EP tech out there. Accion Systems, the current world leader in ILIS electrospray thruster technology, has raised $36M in funding for this tech. I am one step closer through Applied Ion Systems to my own ILIS system designed and built at completely independently at home, openly developed, with over 4 orders of magnitude less funding. The ILIS1, while ionic liquid electrospray like the Accion TILE series, uses a radically different design and method of manufacture, relying on conventional CNC machined macro-scale ridges, rather than laser ablation micro-machined arrays of microscopic spikes. Macro-scale ILIS is actually the newest form of ILIS technology, and is significantly less explored than porous or hollow needle arrays like conventional micro-ILIS. However, this technology holds a lot of potential for extremely low-cost high performance micro-ion thrusters for nanosatellites, operating at a lower overall thrust but much higher ISP and in purely ionic mode, vs conventional micro-machined arrays which operate in a mixed ion/droplet spray mode.
And of course, I have to give a massive shout out and thanks to all of my Patrons supporting this effort. Your contributions have gone directly to help pay for the fabrication of these critical thruster components. We are pioneering EP to a degree never seen at this level before!