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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Low Power Miniature Colloidal High Vacuum Pump

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Low Power Miniature Colloidal High Vacuum Pump, Phase I
Shortly after NASA made the most recent planetary science SBIR topics public, we began discussing the possibility of translating our experience in maximizing momentum transfer by specialized electrospray jets into a vacuum for micro-satellite propulsion as a new alternative to the diffusion pump concept. Indeed, what is currently being done for "colloidal propulsion" parallels the requirements for an effective vapor-jet pump. The attractive feature of colloidal droplets produced by the electrospray phenomena is significant. Principal among these is the lack of volatility of the working fluid, negating the need for diffusion pump heater concepts, and the ability to produce ions or droplets at a known velocity that exceed the thermal velocity of target pump gases using only milliwatts of power. Over the past 30+ years, no significant advance in vacuum pump concepts save for the turbo-molecular pump has been realized. The proposed technology offers a potential for game-changing new technology that may obviate a turbo pump in many applications while promising to provide significant cost savings with unprecedented reliability and longevity. More »

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