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Abstract

Spindt-type field-emission cathodes for use in electric propulsion (EP) systems having self-assembling nanostructures that can repeatedly regenerate damaged cathode emitter nanotips. A nanotip is created by applying a negative potential near the surface of a liquefied base metal to create a Taylor cone converging to a nanotip, and solidifying the Taylor cone for use as a field-emission cathode. When the nanotip of the Taylor cone becomes sufficiently blunted or damaged to affect its utility, the base metal is re-liquefied by application of a heat source, a negative potential is reapplied to the surface of the base metal to recreate the Taylor cone, and a new nanotip is generated by solidifying the base metal.

Patent Number

8,080,930

Assignee

Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI (US)

Application Number

11/852,122

Date Filed

9-7-2007

Certificate of Correction

No

Issue Date

12-20-2011

Disciplines

Engineering

Self-regenerating nanotips for low-power electric propulsion (EP) cathodes

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Engineering Commons

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