Field Emmision

Field Emmision

Field electron emission is a key benefit to carbon nanotubes.  The Ready group utilizes these emitted electrons to generate a plasma environment.  One application for this is to provide propulsion for satelllites via a hall effect thruster.  In this application, the CNT-based “cold” (field emitting) cathode offers tremendous advantages over the traditional “hot” (thermionic) cathode, that requires complex power and cooling technologies which prohibit their use in smaller ‘cubesats.’  The field emitter technology has recently been deployed in space as part of the ALICE cubesat.