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Analysis of Design Alternatives of Actively Cooled RF Window for MPEX...

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
Fusion Science and Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 9
Conference Name
Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE)
Conference Location
Virtual, Tennessee, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
American Nuclear Society
Conference Date

The Materials Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX) has been designed as a linear plasma divertor simulator in order to address plasma material interaction (PMI) science for next-generation fusion devices. It will have the capability to test neutron irradiated samples with plasma fluxes of greater than 1024 m−2s−1. It is expected to operate steady state for up to 106 s to consider PMI affects through reactor end of life. The conceptual design of MPEX was completed in 2019, with preliminary design having begun in 2020. The plasma source for MPEX is a helicon antenna, where the energized helical antenna sits outside of the vacuum in order to minimize impurities in the plasma. It is expected to receive up to 200 kW of continuous power, and so the antenna and the window must be actively cooled. The water-cooled copper antenna has been operated at full power on the Proto-MPEX device (which is a test facility to demonstrate the plasma source and heating systems). The water-cooled window, however, is a novel component that must meet numerous competing requirements. It requires a low dielectric loss to allow the Radio Frequency (RF) power to create the plasma within the vacuum boundary. It must be structurally robust to handle the significant heat flux from the plasma and any heat from dielectric coupling. It must be compatible with the coolant (preferably water). It requires a vacuum seal that minimizes impurities into the plasma and does not compromise the structural integrity of the window. Two window designs have been tested. Results from these tests, where temperatures are measured and heat fluxes inferred from infrared camera data, have been correlated with thermal-structural simulations. When these simulations are extrapolated to the full power steady-state heat fluxes that are expected in MPEX, the designs do not appear to have the necessary structural robustness. This study explores design alternatives for the MPEX helicon antenna window, presents analysis results for several of the alternatives, and shows a viable solution that satisfies the requirements for MPEX operation.