Investigation of the onset voltage for the design of a microfabricated colloid thruster

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

7 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Jijun Xiong
  • Dong Sun
  • Zhaoying Zhou
  • Wendong Zhang


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Journal / PublicationIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


Onset voltage plays a crucial role in the design of a microcolloid thruster. This paper presents a methodology to estimate the onset voltage for the design of a new microfabricated colloid thruster. The basic idea of this method is to simplify the source emitter and the extractor of the microthruster as two hyperboloids of two sheets of a set of equal potential surfaces. The maximum electric field between electrodes is modeled using the Lamé method, on which a method to estimate the onset voltage is developed. To avoid the aberration of electric field caused by protuberances on the surface of the source emitter, the height of the source emitter must be much greater than that of protuberance. Experiments conducted on the homemade microcolloid thrusters, designed based on the proposed onset voltage estimation, verify the correctness of the approach. © 2006 IEEE.

Research Area(s)

  • Colloid thruster, Electric field, Microfabrication, Onset voltage