Characterization of an electrothermal plasma source for fusion transient simulations

T. E. Gebhart, L. R. Baylor, J. Rapp, A. L. Winfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The realization of fusion energy requires materials that can withstand high heat and particle fluxes at the plasma material interface. In this work, an electrothermal (ET) plasma source has been designed as a transient heat flux source for a linear plasma material interaction device. An ET plasma source operates in the ablative arc regime driven by a DC capacitive discharge. The current channel width is defined by the 4 mm bore of a boron nitride liner. At large plasma currents, the arc impacts the liner wall, leading to high particle and heat fluxes to the liner material, which subsequently ablates and ionizes. This results in a high density plasma with a large unidirectional bulk flow out of the source exit. The pulse length for the ET source has been optimized using a pulse forming network to have durations of 1 and 2 ms. The peak currents and maximum source energies seen in this system are 1.9 kA and 1.2 kJ for the 2 ms pulse and 3.2 kA and 2.1 kJ for the 1 ms pulse, respectively. This work is a proof of the principal project to show that an ET source produces electron densities and heat fluxes comparable to those anticipated in transient events in large future magnetic confinement fusion devices. Heat flux, plasma temperature, and plasma density were determined for each shot using infrared imaging and optical spectroscopy techniques. This paper will discuss the assumptions, methods, and results of the experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033301
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of an electrothermal plasma source for fusion transient simulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this