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A colloid thruster (or "electrospray thruster") is a type of low thrust electric propulsion rocket engine that uses electrostatic acceleration of charged liquid droplets for propulsion. In a colloid thruster, charged liquid droplets are produced by an electrospray process and then accelerated by a static electric field. The liquid used for this application tends to be a low-volatility ionic liquid.
Like other ion thrusters, its benefits include high efficiency, thrust density, and specific impulse; however it has very low total thrust, on the order of micronewtons. It could provide very fine attitude control or efficient acceleration of small spacecraft over long periods of time.
- "ST7 Lisa Pathfinder". busek.com. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
- 20mN, Variable Specific Impulse Colloid Thruster, Phase II Project. NASA.
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