Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Colloquium

March 8, 2017
March 8, 2017
Speaker: Yevgeny Raitses, Ph.D.
                 Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Title: Hall Thruster for Space Applications: Advanced Concepts and Research Challenges
Location: Fiber Optics Building, Easton Hub Auditorium
Time: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Abstract: The Hall thruster is a plasma propulsion device that holds considerable promise for many space applications, including near-Earth orbital missions and space exploration missions. Unmagnetized ions (usually Xenon) are accelerated electrostatically to energies of 0.1-1 keV in a quasineutral plasma (1011-1012 cm-3) with a closed electron E ´ B drift. This thruster concept was invented in early 60’s to overcome the limitations of a gridded ion thruster, in that the Hall thruster produces neutral plasma flow that is not space-charge limited, but is instead limited by the attainable magnetic fields in the thruster magnetic circuit. Over the years, more than 100 Hall thrusters have been flown in space mainly for station keeping and orbit transfer of satellites. Future space applications, including micropropulsion with the input power of less than 100 W and the thruster level of not exceeding and high power electric propulsion (50-200 kW), can take Hall thruster technology to its technological limit. With recent advances in understanding of Hall thruster physics, further improvements of Hall thrusters were suggested by controlling plasma-wall interaction.1 This talk will review fundamentals and potential applications of several advanced Hall thruster concepts, including a thruster with reduced plasma-wall interaction effects on the plasma due to the use of engineered wall materials with surface micro-architecture,2 and novel plasma thrusters with advanced magnetic field topologies including plasma thrusters with cusp-type and mirror-type magnetic field topologies,3 magnetically-filtered and shielded plasma thrusters4 proposed for low and high power applications.

Bio: Yevgeny Raitses is a Principal Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. He is the head of the division of Low Temperature Plasma and Applications at Plasma Science and Technology Department of PPPL. Dr. Raitses is an expert in experimental plasma physics. He has an extensive publication record with over 100 publications on physics of plasma thrusters, plasma-surface interactions, nanosynthesis plasmas, cross-field discharges, and plasma diagnostics. Dr. Raitses is directing PPPL research program on plasma thrusters ( He is also the head of the PPPL Laboratory for Plasma Nanosynthesis (

For additional information, please contact Professor Howon Lee at 848-445-2213 or at