I am excited to finally reveal the most advanced AIS development yet! The AIS-EHT1, an Adamantane fueled 10W-class micro end-hall thruster with provisions for an integrated low-power glow-discharge hollow cathode neutralizer or dual filament neutralizers.
Modularity is at the core of everything I design. The more interchangeable feature compatibility with minimal extra hardware, the better. The functionality for two types of neutralizers built into the same package allows for a range of use-cases, testing, and operational modes.
The first key part of this design is the incredibly tight integration of all the parts. The hall thruster and hollow cathode neutralizer are mounted to the same fuel feed adapter plate, both relying on direct fuel sublimation feed, no valves, allowing an incredibly compact system.
One of the biggest challenges for this was scaling Hall tech this tiny without custom ceramics. The design utilizes off the shelf ceramic parts, SmCo magnets, gas distribution baffle, and leverages simple assembly borrowed from concepts seen in industrial end-hall ion sources.
Another key and exciting part of this build is the low-power micro glow-discharge hollow-cathode neutralizer, the AIS-GDN1. Unlike conventional gas-fed neutralizers, this system relies on no heaters or RF, instead leveraging a glow-discharge e-beam source to keep power incredibly low.
Like the Hall thruster, the neutralizer integrates directly with the fuel system. Off the shelf ceramics are used, with direct feed built into the housing. Dimensionally, the neutralizer can operate at normal hollow-cathode internal pressures in the 1-15 Torr range.
What you see is the entire fuel tank, fuel delivery, thruster, and hollow cathode neutralizer all integrated as one package. 50mm outer diameter, 60mm total height from bottom of the tank to the top of the neutralizer. The Hall thruster itself is 20mm diameter, 10mm high.
Now, CAD models are great to show the concept, but they do not give justice to just how tiny the whole system is. This is the CAD 1:1 with the tank housing in my hand, with the fuel delivery, Hall thrust, and neutralizer. It is not PQ scale just yet, but it is *almost* there.
Stay tuned for developments, because this design phase is going to move fast!