RPF 2016/17: Imaging turbulence in fusion plasmas

Project: Other projectOther internal award

Project participant(s)

Department / unit(s)

Description

Amount awarded £18,000

Layman's description

This proposal is for the purchase of optical component upgrades enabling us to experimentally study turbulence at high spatial and temporal resolution on two of the EU’s major tokamaks: MAST-U (UK) and AUG (Germany). Developing up-to-date imaging on these experiments will establish new collaborations, positioning the university in a leading role in plasma turbulence studies. The experimental capability thus built will be a key asset for the validation of simulations developed at the university, funded by EUROfusion and EPSRC. The analysis methods to be developed under this project bear relevance to cutting edge applied technical fields such as machine vision.
In particular, the RPF component of the project concentrates on building two optical systems at the AUG tokamak in Germany to utilize both ultra-fast imaging cameras, and custom built ultra-high sensitivity, low resolution cameras for observing tokamak edge turbulence even in extreme circumstances.

Key findings

In alignment with the originally proposed objectives, a complete imaging system was re-designed for the AUG tokamak for gas-puff imaging (GPI) studies. A test version was assembled in April 2017 using outdated components. A series of experiments were performed in May 2017 using both on Eurofusion MST1 allocations, and the PI's personally awarded internal program experiments, which were successful in large part due to the designs and projected construction enabled by the RPF grant. The proof-of-principle tests performed above the limits of the previous, similar system. Accordingly purchasing proceeded for the correct and updated components of the optical setup and the image connection.The second project objective -- studying characteristics of alternative confinement regimes -- has recently moved into the next phase, as experiments on the AUG device have now been made robustly compatible with even heavy gas-puffing. The first of these experiments using GPI are expected in 07/2017.Finally, the possibility to outfit AUG with multiple GPI optical systems leveraged the UoY lead utilisation of an avalanche-photodiode (APD) camera -- worth approximately 100kGBP -- along with the strategic collaboration with the Wigner Institute in Hungary, which manufactures them.
As of 07/2018, the optical setup for the APD camera as well as that for the conventional fast camera are complete at AUG. The measurements intended for autumn 2018 have been postponed due to unforeseen incidents at the facility, which caused a shutdown in November 2017. The scheduled experiments were supposed to happen 07/2018, but the AUG device repeated the same failure, and as such the APD commissioning is postponed again. Data access difficulties and general University work have preempted analysis, but a significant amount of valid data (some 100s of GB) exists awaiting work. The project connects to the studentship of Steven Thomas, who is actively pursuing software development for the purpose of completing the second round of physical interpretation.
A broader multi-machine turbulence imaging grant application (for New Investigator scheme EPSRC), supported by the work done on AUG and in collaboration with CCFE is in the write-up phase as of 11/07/2018.
StatusNot started

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