Basic experiments were carried out using the THT-IV low-power Hall thruster to examine the influences of magnetic field shape and strength, and acceleration channel length on thruster performance and to establish guidelines for design of high-performance Hall thrusters. Thrusts were measured with varying magnetic field and channel structure. Exhaust plasma diagnostic measurement was also made to evaluate plume divergent angles and voltage utilization efficiencies. Ion current spatial profiles were measured with a Faraday cup, and ion energy distribution functions were estimated from data with a retarding potential analyzer. The thruster was stably operated with a highest performance under an optimum acceleration channel length of 20 mm and an optimum magnetic field with a maximum strength of about 150 Gauss near the channel exit and with some shape considering ion acceleration directions. Accordingly, an optimum magnetic field and channel structure is considered to exist under an operational condition, related to inner physical phenomena of plasma production, ion acceleration and exhaust plasma feature. A new Hall thruster was designed with basic research data of the THT-IV thruster. With the thruster with many considerations, long stable operations were achieved. In all experiments at 200-400 V with 1.5-3 mg/s, the thrust and the specific impulse ranged from 15 to 70 mN and from 1100 to 2300 see, respectively, in a low electric power range of 300~1300 W. The thrust efficiency reached 55 %. Hence, a large map of the thruster performance was successfully made. The thermal characteristics were also examined with data of both measured and calculated temperatures in the thruster body. Thermally safe conditions were achieved with all input powers.
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