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Title:Physics of the helicon antenna on the prototype materials exposure experiment
Author(s):Piotrowicz, Pawel A.
Advisor(s):Ruzic, David N.
Contributor(s):Curreli, Davide
Department / Program:Nuclear, Plasma, & Rad Engr
Discipline:Nuclear, Plasma, Radiolgc Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Proto-MPEX has been operating in a high-density “helicon-mode” of operation. The helicon mode of operation is classified by an increase in target on-axis electron density (6e19 m^-3) and a decrease in electron temperature (2 – 3 eV) during a helicon pulse. This transition is observed when Deuterium gas is puffed into the device and is dependent on operating configurations. The Proto-MPEX helicon antenna is a quarter turn right handed helical twist antenna powered by RF at 13.56 MHz and > 110 kW of power. Establishing plasma densities and magnetic field strengths under the antenna that suppress non-resonant mode conversion to the slow-wave are thought to be responsible for operating in the "helicon-mode". Evidence for this phenomena to be responsible for the "helicon-mode" of operation is presented. The experimental results showing evidence of this phenomena are presented here. First, we present time-resolved measurements of an edge-to-core power transition during a "helicon-mode" plasma pulse in the form of infra-red camera imaging of a thin stainless steel target plate. The time-resolved images measure the two-dimensional distribution of power deposition in the helicon discharge. The discharge displays a mode transition characterized by a significant increase in the on-axis electron density and core power coupling, suppression of edge power coupling and the formation of a fast-wave radial normal mode. Although the self-consistent mechanism that drives this transition is not yet understood, the edge-to-core power transition displays characteristics that are consistent with the discharge entering a slow-wave anti-resonant regime. RF magnetic field measurements made across the plasma column, together with the power deposition results, provide direct evidence to support the suppression of the slow-wave in favour of core plasma production by the fast-wave in a light-ion helicon source. A full wave model of the helicon antenna has been made in the finite element analysis software, COMSOL Multiphysics, to investigate the wave fields produced and the power deposition inside the Proto-MPEX device. Core electron density and magnetic field under the helicon is scanned while tracking core power deposition. The peaks of core power deposition in this parameter space are then investigated and the propagating modes are analyzed. These areas of increased core power deposition are then identified as helicon normal modes that are predicted to decrease edge coupling of power and increase core power coupling by suppressing the non-resonant mode conversion of the fast-wave to the slow-wave in the periphery of the plasma.
Issue Date:2018-03-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Pawel A. Piotrowicz
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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