Press Releases > Fail-safe Cold Cathode Ionizer

Fail-safe Cold Cathode Ionizer

Press Release

Press Release

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a fail-safe field emission-based cold cathode ionizer for use in space-based instrumentation.

NASA has expressed a need for advanced neutral particle ionizers to enable the next-generation of neutral particle detectors such as mass spectrometers for the study of Earth-Sun interactions and planetary atmospheres.

PSI’s cold cathode ionizer features ultra-low electron extraction voltages down to 2 V, emission current densities up to A/cm2 across mm2 emission surfaces, instantaneous switching and negligible thermal load. A unique property of this cold cathode ionizer is its extreme resistance to the most common failure modes associated with field emission devices. The device is designed with recovery from mechanical and thermal shock as well as resilience against exposure to debris or contamination that might be encountered during its service lifetime. The slow degradation of materials and surfaces encountered in space are inherently compensated for in the design.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Dorin Preda
Group Leader, Material Technologies
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003