Our Technology

The Accion Difference:
Ionic Liquid Electrospray

Our approach is fundamentally different from conventional electric propulsion systems. Learn how it works.

The TILE System

Understanding the technology behind Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray (TILE)

  1. Power Processing Unit 
    Our electronics are designed to maximize power conversion efficiency and limit waste heat, and can be mounted apart from the propellant supply and thruster chips.
  2. Propellant Supply Tank
    Our fuel source is an inert, non-toxic ionic liquid salt, stored in a low-pressure container similar to an inkjet cartridge.
  3. Thruster Chips
    Our thruster chips can emit both the positive and negative ions existing in the ionic liquid, eliminating the need for bulky ionization chambers and failure-prone external cathodes.
  4. Ion Emitter Tips
    Each thruster chip is arrayed with hundreds of microscopic ion emitters. Ionic liquid is wicked to the emitter tips from the tanks below through capillary action.
  5. Ion Extractor Grid
    A grid above the emitters applies intense electric fields to extract and accelerate ions from the emitter tips.
  6. Accelerated Ion Beams
    Neutral beams of ions are ejected at high speeds from the thruster chip to propel the spacecraft in the opposite direction.
TILE System Diagram
  1. Power Processing
  2. Propellant Supply Tank
  3. Thruster Chips
  4. Ion Emitter Tips
  5. Ion Extractor Grid
  6. Accelerated Ion Beams

Compare with other Small Satellite
Compatible Technologies

TILEFEEPHall EffectGridded Ion
Low Power Operation
Propulsion is throttleable and can stably operate at almost any power level.
Low Pressure Propellant
Propellant is stored in lightweight tanks with no explosive risk.”
Inert Propellant
No deposition of metal films on sensors, solar panels or other critical equipment.
No External Cathode
External cathodes are prone to failure and draw additional power.
High Thermal Efficiency
Unmatched power efficiency eliminates complex thermal routing requirements.
No Warm Up Periods
No need to warm up the propellant — fire on demand after commissioning once.
Compact Design
Eliminating ionization chambers, high-pressure valves, and flow controllers leaves a small, lightweight, modular system.
Low Signature
Propellant is ionized in the manufacturing process, eliminating emissions of high-power RF, IR, visible, or UV radiation.

Applying the Lessons of
Moore’s Law to Propulsion

Consumer electronics have fit exponentially more power into smaller packages for the last 50 years. At Accion, we applied the lessons from Moore’s Law to propulsion. Using microfabrication techniques from the semiconductor industry, we can increase the density of ion emitter tips with each generation. This densification enables us to continuously improve the power and efficiency of the TILE system.

TILE 2

POWER EFFICIENCY AT MAX THRUST
.1 mN/10 W

TOTAL IMPULSE
21 Ns

TILE 3

POWER EFFICIENCY AT MAX THRUST
.225 mN/10 W

TOTAL IMPULSE
755 Ns

TILE 4 In development

POWER EFFICIENCY AT MAX THRUST
.45 mN/10 W

TOTAL IMPULSE
5,000 Ns

Featured Resources

Whatever your mission is,
TILE can expand what’s possible.