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Utilization of O-X-B mode conversion of 28 GHz microwaves to heat core electrons in the upgraded Proto-MPEX...

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Physics of Plasmas
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The magnetic geometry of the Prototype Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX) was recently modified to enable more effective utilization of 28 GHz microwave auxiliary power, specifically: (1) to heat plasma electrons in the radial core of the device and (2) to deliver the heated plasma to the target plate of the device. To achieve this goal, the microwave launcher geometry and placement were significantly re-engineered, guided by previous experimental results and computational modeling. The core electron temperature in the launcher region is observed to increase from 3 eV to 11 eV with 30 kW of auxiliary power after the improvements, and an increase from 3 eV to 6 eV is concurrently measured in the target region (∼1 m from the launcher) at electron density above O-mode cutoff. Radially resolved measurements in the launcher region exhibit a strong dependence on the magnetic geometry. The results of a magnetic field scan reinforce the effectiveness of the intended O-X-B mode conversion scenario that is currently planned for microwave heating of the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX).