L. Brad King

L. Brad King


Ron & Elaine Starr Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Director, Space Systems Research Group

Faculty Advisor, Aerospace Enterprise

  • PhD, University of Michigan


Dr. King is an experimentalist interested in studying electric space propulsion systems, including Hall-effect thrusters, ion engines, and arcjets. By utilizing strong electromagnetic forces to accelerate an ionized plasma propellant, electric thrusters take advantage of on-orbit solar power generation to enjoy significant fuel savings over traditional chemical rockets. King's research experience in the broader field of plasma physics includes such diverse subjects as the design of the in-situ electrostatic probes, ion-energy analysis and time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Doppler laser cooling of trapped ions, optical flow diagnostics, and antimatter confinement.

Areas of Expertise

  • Space Propulsion
  • Plasma Physics
  • Optical Fluid Diagnostics

Research Interests

  • Design of in-situ electrostatic probes
  • Ion-energy analysis and time-of-flight mass spectrometry
  • Doppler laser cooling of trapped ions
  • Optical flow diagnostics
  • Antimatter confinement

Recent Publications

  • Lyon (Brad) King, Jason M. Makela, Robert L. Washeleski, "Re-generable Field Emission Cathode For Spacecraft Neutralization," Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 25, No. 4, Pages 970-975, 2009-07-00
  • Lyon (Brad) King, Fossum, E.C., "An Electron Trap for Studying Cross-Field Mobility in Hall Thrusters," IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 36, No. 5, pp. 2088-2094, 2008-10-00
  • Lyon (Brad) King, Sommerville, J.D., Chiu, Y.-H., and Dressler, R.A., "Ion-Collision Emission Excitation Cross Sections for Xenon Electric Thruster Plasmas," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 880-888, 2008-07-00
  • Lyon (Brad) King, Massey, D.R., Makela, J.M., "Bismuth Hollow Cathode for Hall Thrusters," Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 142-146, 2008-02-00
  • King, L. B. and Gallimore, A. D., "Ion Energy Diagnostics in the Plasma Exhaust Plume of a Hall Thruster," Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 16, No. 5, September-October 2000.
  • King, L. B. and Gallimore, A. D., "Identifying Charge-exchange Collision Products within the Ion-energy Distribution of Electrostatically Accelerated Plasmas," Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 6, No. 7, pp. 2936-42, July 1999.
  • # King, L. B., Gallimore, A. D., and Marrese, C. M., "Transport-property Measurements in the Plume of an SPT-100 Hall-effect Thruster," Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 327-35, May-June 1998.
  • King, L. B. and Gallimore, A. D., "Gridded Retarding Pressure Sensor for Ion and Neutral Particle Analysis in Flowing Plasmas," Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 68, No. 2, February 1997.