Gridded Ion Engines and Hall Effect Thrusters require Hollow Cathodes (HCs) to emit electrons that ionize the propellant forming the plasma and neutralize the positively charged ion beam.
Mars Space Ltd 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.
MSL hollow cathodes are designed to deliver the following flexible performance:
The main advantages of the MSL HC design are: