Submission Title

An analysis of the Auger peak shift between barium and barium oxide

Author Information

Nicholas ZdroyFollow

Location

Vivian A. Bull Music Center: Delkin Recital Hall

Subject Area

Physics/Applied Physics

Description

Ion thrusters, an increasingly popular method of space propulsion, have requirements for longevity and efficiency that are unique to the conditions of space travel. Negligible levels of drag in space along with the lack of interstellar gas stations are perfect conditions for the use of low-thrust, long-life solutions like ion thrusters. These requirements for longevity and efficiency make it necessary to better understand factors that impact the efficiency of thermionic emission cathodes, an integral element in the anatomy of an ion thruster. A thermionic emission cathode’s efficiency is dependent in part upon its chemical composition. For this study, a replica cathode surface was created by barium deposition using a novel method with a resistively heated getter. The surface was depth profiled using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) to investigate the differences in data obtained from barium in metallically bonded states as opposed to an oxide. Determining a method to accurately measure the relative quantities of these bond types in a cathode is the first step in moving towards a more clinical cathode production process. Qualitative changes in peak shape and size indicating a change in bond type were documented.

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An analysis of the Auger peak shift between barium and barium oxide

Vivian A. Bull Music Center: Delkin Recital Hall

Ion thrusters, an increasingly popular method of space propulsion, have requirements for longevity and efficiency that are unique to the conditions of space travel. Negligible levels of drag in space along with the lack of interstellar gas stations are perfect conditions for the use of low-thrust, long-life solutions like ion thrusters. These requirements for longevity and efficiency make it necessary to better understand factors that impact the efficiency of thermionic emission cathodes, an integral element in the anatomy of an ion thruster. A thermionic emission cathode’s efficiency is dependent in part upon its chemical composition. For this study, a replica cathode surface was created by barium deposition using a novel method with a resistively heated getter. The surface was depth profiled using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) to investigate the differences in data obtained from barium in metallically bonded states as opposed to an oxide. Determining a method to accurately measure the relative quantities of these bond types in a cathode is the first step in moving towards a more clinical cathode production process. Qualitative changes in peak shape and size indicating a change in bond type were documented.