Journal article

Influences of porous reservoir Laplace pressure on emissions from passively fed ionic liquid electrospray sources

Passively fed ionic liquid electrospray sources are capable of efficiently emitting a variety of ion beams with promising applications to spacecraft propulsion and as focused ion beams. Practical devices will require integrated or coupled ionic liquid reservoirs; the effects of which have not been explored in detail. Porous reservoirs are a simple, scalable solution. However, we have shown that their pore size can dramatically alter the beam composition. Emitting the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(triflouromethylsulfonyl)amide, the same device was shown to yield either an ion or droplet dominated beam when using reservoirs of small or large pore size, respectively; with the latter having a mass flow in excess of 15 times larger than the former at negative polarity. Another source, emitting nearly purely ionic beams of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate, was similarly shown to emit a significant droplet population when coupled to reservoirs of large (>100 μm) pores; constituting a reduction in propulsive efficiency from greater than 70% to less than 30%. Furthermore, we show that reservoir selection can alter the voltage required to obtain and sustain emission, increasing with smaller pore size

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