Systems and methods may be provided for cylindrical Hall thrusters with independently controllable ionization and acceleration stages. The systems and methods may include a cylindrical channel having a center axial direction, a gas inlet for directing ionizable gas to an ionization section of the cylindrical channel, an ionization device that ionizes at least a portion of the ionizable gas within the ionization section to generate ionized gas, and an acceleration device distinct from the ionization device. The acceleration device may provide an axial electric field for an acceleration section of the cylindrical channel to accelerate the ionized gas through the acceleration section, where the axial electric field has an axial direction in relation to the center axial direction. The ionization section and the acceleration section of the cylindrical channel may be substantially non-overlapping.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-ACO2-09CH11466 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.