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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hollow Cathodes


Gridded Ion Engines and Hall Effect Thrusters require Hollow Cathodes (HCs) to emit electrons that ionize the propellant forming the plasma and that are needed to neutralize the positively charged ion beam.

Mars Space is currently developing its own range of Hollow Cathodes for laboratory use.
These cathodes utilize an advanced heater technology and lanthanum hexaboride (LaB6) inserts. for increased reliability, robustness and ease of use.
The firsMars Space Hollow cathode (MSL_HC40) has been designed to deliver the following flexible performance:

  • ​​Discharge Current: flexible, in the range 5 - 45 A
  • Operating Voltage: 15  - 21 V
  • Heater Power: 50 W​

moreover the main advantages of the new Mars Space Hollow Cathode desing are:​​

  1. little to no susceptibility to oxygen poisoning 
  2. much lower gas-fed impurity level requirement when compared to impregnated cathodes
  3. No outgassing procedure required after exposure to air
  4. robust heater desing that does not suffer from embrittlement
  5. simple and modular design

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For more information please contact us or email us at michele.coletti@mars-space.co.uk​