Study and optimization of boronization in Alcator C-Mod using the Surface Science Station (S3)

R. Ochoukov, D. Whyte, B. Lipschultz, B. Labombard, N. Gierse, S. Harrison

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A Surface Science Station (S3) on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak is used to study and optimize the location and rate of boron film deposition in situ during electron cyclotron (EC) discharge plasmas using 2.45 GHz radio-frequency (RF) heating and a mixture of helium and diborane (B2D6) gasses. The radial profile of boron deposition is measured with a pair of quartz microbalances (QMB) on S3, the faces of which can be rotated 360° including orientations parallel and perpendicular to the toroidal magnetic field BT ∼0.1 T. The plasma electron density is measured with a Langmuir probe, also on S3 in the vicinity of the QMBs, and typical values are ∼1 × 1016 m−3. A maximum boron deposition rate of 0.82 μg/cm2/min is obtained, which corresponds to 3.5 nm/min if the film density is that of solid boron. These deposition rates are sufficient for boron film applications between tokamak discharges. However the deposition does not peak at the EC resonance as previously assumed. Rather, deposition peaks near the upper hybrid (UH) resonance, ∼5 cm outboard of the EC resonance. This has implications for RF absorption, with the RF waves being no longer damped on the electrons at the EC resonance. The previously inferred radial locations of critical erosion zones in Alcator C-Mod also need to be re-evaluated. The boron deposition profile versus major radius follows the ion flux/density profile, implying that the boron deposition is primarily ionic. The application of a vertical magnetic field (BV ∼0.01 T) was found to narrow the plasma density and boron deposition profiles near the UH resonance, thus better localizing the deposition. A Monte Carlo simulation is developed to model the boron deposition on the different QMB/tokamak surfaces. The model requires a relatively high boron ion gyroradius of ∼5 mm, indicating a B+1 ion temperature of ∼2 eV, to match the deposition on QMB surfaces with different orientation to BT. Additionally, the boron ion trajectories become de-magnetized at high neutral gas throughput (∼0.5 Pa m3 s−1) and pressure (∼2 Pa) when the largest absolute deposition rates are measured, resulting in deposition patterns, which are independent of surface orientation to BT in optimized conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1700-1707
JournalFusion engineering and design
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012

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