Evaluation of IR microscopy as a tool to visualize Ionic Liquid transport

eval IR micrtoolElectrospray based thrusters can be used to provide very precise and efficient propulsion capabilities to small satellites. This propulsion is ideal for precise positioning of spacecraft operating in formation flights, orbit maintenance or exploration missions within the solar system. LMTS is currently leading an international European consortium (MicroThrust) aimed at developing and characterizing a system based on this technology.


The electrospray is based on the electrical extraction of ions or droplets of ionic liquid filling a capillary micromachined in a Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) wafer.


Of particular interest, both for the operation of the thruster and also from system perspectives, is the understanding of the transport of the ionic liquid to the capillary. This project will evaluate the feasibility of using an infrared microscope to visualize the liquid through the silicon capillary (silicon is transparent to IR light), focusing particularly on the wetting (contact angle). The goal will be to determine the contrasts and resolution achievable, and may involve the use of diluted IR fluorescent die.



Master (thesis) project


Fall Semester, Spring Semester



Type of work:

Design and development, Optical test and characterization


Understanding of microfluidics and liquid wetting, Basic experience in optical microscopy.


Electrosprays, Ionic Liquid, Wetting properties


Simon Dandavino
Projects in the LMTS - Fall 2011


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