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recent results from the australian plasma fusion research facility

Recent results from the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility

B. D. Blackwell, J. Howard, D.G. Pretty, S. Haskey, J.Caneses, C. Corr, L. Chang, N. Thapar, J.W.Read, J. Bertram, B. Seiwald, C.A. Nuhrenberg, H. Punzmann, M. J. Hole, M. McGann, R.L. Dewar, F.J. Glass, J. Wach, M. Gwynneth, M. Blacksell

the australian plasma fusion facility results and upgrade plans
The Australian Plasma Fusion Facility: Results and Upgrade Plans

The Facility

The Upgrade (2010-2013)

Result Overview: H-1NF

Data mining

Alfvénic Scaling

Optical Measurements

Radial Structure

MDF Results

Aims Key areas

New diagnostics for Upgrade


h 1nf the australian plasma fusion research facility
H-1NF: the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility

Originally a Major National Research Facility established by the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian National University


  • Detailed understanding of the basic physics of magnetically confined hot plasma in the HELIAC configuration
  • Development of advanced plasma measurement systems
  • Fundamental studies including turbulence and transport in plasma
  • Contribute to global research effort, maintain Australian presence in the field of plasma fusion power

MoU’s for collaboration with:

Members of the IEA implementing agreement on development of stellarator concept.

National Institute of Fusion Science of Japan, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

h 1 cad

Major radius 1m

  • Minor radius 0.1-0.2m
  • Magnetic Field 1 Tesla (0.2 DC)
  • q 0.5 -1 (transform 1~2)
  • ne 1-3x1018
  • Te 20eV (helicon) <200eV (ECH)
  •  0.01 - 0.1%
the facility upgrade
The Facility Upgrade
  • Australian Government’s “Super Science Package”
  • Boosted National Collaborative Infrastructure Program using the “Educational Infrastructure Fund”
  • $7M, over 4 years for infrastructure upgradesRF heatingvacuum and power systems, diagnosticscontrol data access(no additional funding for research)

2009Australian Budget Papers

new cooled rf antenna helicon icrf
New cooled RF Antenna – helicon/ICRF
  • Insulators/
  • Vacuum feed through

Tuning box

Antenna contoured to plasma shape

diagnostic and control upgrades
Diagnostic and Control Upgrades

Synchronous Imaging

Coherence Imaging Camera

Multichannel Interferometer

MDF Imaging


Powerful web-based data browser

  • Low bandwidth required, open source
  • Full data resolution accessible
  • Same access for binary xml csv forms
  • firewall issuesviewer software
Screenshot of web browser at

Screenshot of web browser at

h 1 configuration is very flexible
H-1 configuration is very flexible
  • “flexible heliac” : helical winding, with helicity matching the plasma,  2:1 range of twist/turn
  • H-1NF can control 2 out of 3 oftransform () magnetic well and shear  (spatial rate of change)
  • Reversed Shear like Advanced Tokamak mode of operation

low shear

 = 4/3

twist per turn (transform)

 = 5/4

medium shear



three mirnov arrays toroidal

Shaun HaskeyDavid Pretty

Mirnov Array 1

Mirnov Array 220 pickup coils


RF Antenna


Three Mirnov Arrays (Toroidal)
  • New Toroidal Array
  • Coils inside a SS thin-wall bellows (LP, E-static shield)
  • Access to otherwise inaccessible region with
  • largest signals and
  • with significant variation in toroidal curvature.
flucstruc analysis via svd phase vs
Flucstruc analysis via SVD  phase vs

Singular vectors are grouped by similarity to separate simultaneous modes

Follows plasma shape, amplitude variation is much less

Helical Array resolves n and m, but not independently e.g. 9/7,8/7,7/6 sim.




Time (ms)

PSD of chronos


phase clustering separates modes

Shaun HaskeyDavid Pretty

Phase Clustering Separates Modes

0 50 100kHz


K|| after correctionfor ne

Spread decreases

Clusters lies close to k||cyl. for expected n,m apart from a factor of ~3

(iotabar taken along solid line)

f (kHz)

0 0.1



rational surfaces

zero shear

mode physics
Mode Physics?
  • Unclear drive physics
    • Alfvén ~5e6 m/s – in principle, ICRH accelerates H+ ions but poor confinement of H+ at VA (~40keV) makes this unlikely.
    • More complete analysis of orbits with H-1 parameters (Nazikian PoP 2008) reduces required ion energy considerably
    • H+ bounce frequency of mirror trapped H+ is correct order?
    • Electron energies are a better match, but the coupling is weaker. (mechanism?)

res = k||VAlfvén = k||B/(o)

Numerical factor of ~ 1/3 required for quantitative agreement near resonance

  • Impurities (increased effective mass) may account for 15-20%

Density fluctuations  acoustic?

As k|| 0, the mode is expected to become more “sound-like”

b~llincreases as 0

b~ perp

b~ parallel

b~ perp

cas3d studies

Jason Bertram

Matthew Hole


CAS3D Studies
  • Bumpiness (mirror) term in H-1 field requires hundreds of Fourier components to represent parallel displacement.
  • This gives rise to a dense sound mode population in the range of interest (0-100kHz) – which interact with the shear modes.
  • There are global modes here due to the finite beta gap (BAE)
  • Such modes can exhibit a similar but weaker frequency dependence as our “whale tails” if the temperature profile is very hollow.

Can be resolved by: B scan or polarization study

optical imaging of internal mode structure
Optical Imaging of Internal Mode Structure

John HowardNandika ThaparJesse Read

Calibrating View Geometry with eBeams

Field lines from accurate magnetic model (red) are matched with ebeam images (black)

  • Intensity  proxy for ne
  • CCD camera captures vertical view of plasma light, synchronisedwith the Mirnov signals, averagedover many cycles.
  • Phase locked loop waveforms

J. Howard: Synchronous Imaging of MHD Modes in H-1

Vertical view of plasma light synchronised with the Mirnov signals and averaged over many cycles.

Left: Intensity profile at the cross-section of the dashed line

Right: CAS-3D MHD code prediction of electron density.

J. Howard, J. Read, J. Bertram , B. Blackwell

Howard, APFRF Facility and MDF – ANSTO 2010

synchronous imaging configuration scan
Synchronous imaging configuration scan

Poloidal mode structure agrees with magnetic data on both sides of both 5/4 and 4/3 resonances

Mode appears to be located at outer minor radii

HeI 668

doppler coherence imaging on h 1
Doppler Coherence Imaging on H-1

Raw spatial heterodyne image (0.1T Argon)

Interference fringes encode:

  • velocity  phase (shift)
  • temperature  contrast


  • Ion temperature is hollow (10-25eV)
  • Rigid rotation of +/- 3km/sec at outer radii
  • Reflections from TF coils  some degradation
gas puff imaging of coherent fluctuations in h 1
Gas Puff Imaging of coherent fluctuations in H-1

John HowardJesse Read

Supersonic nozzle

(Ne injection)


dI / I

Movie of plasma oscillation showing an Alfvénic MHD mode

View of plasma through H-1 porthole

materials diagnostic test facility
Materials Diagnostic Test Facility

Conditions approaching edge of Fusion reactor

  • Explore effects of plasma on advanced refractory materials
  • Joint ANU-ANSTO + USyd, UNew.++
  • Directly related to Gen 4 nuclear, high temperature coal, solar
  • Uses H-1 power systems, diagnostics

MDF Prototype operational in new lab

mdf plasma parameters low power

Cormac CorrJuan CanesesCameron Samuel

MDF Plasma Parameters (low power)

Argon  1019/m3 3eV (Power density destroys probes above this)

H  1018/m3 (first tests~1kW) 5kW available, 20kW (2013)

dynamic tuning (100us) tried for Ar+ blue core

niAr - 1400W

Te Ar – 1400W

Visible Spectra

Ar 200W

Ar low pwr

Ar“blue core”

Ar+ 440-488

ni H 1200W




doppler coherence imaging of the mdf helicon source

John HowardRomana Lester

Doppler Coherence Imaging of the MDF helicon source

3mT Argon in MDF: Composite images of brightness and azimuthal flow speeds

  • Follows field lines
  • ~rigid rotation 1km/s
  • Ti <1eV on axis, rising at the edge

antenna target region

Composite images of the brightness, azimuthal flow speed and argon ion temperature in the magnetic mirror region of the MDF device (3.0 mTorr)

helicon waves in mdf

Juan CanesesLei Chang

Helicon waves in MDF
  • m = +1 circularly polarised wave as expected (k|| hard to match - below)
  • Attenuation lengths of 8cm – 24cm (in Ar)
  • Amplitude measurements and simulations indicate power is transported to target by parallel flows rather than wave propagation.
  • Density increase less than expected for flux conservation (esp. in Ar)

K|| match requires ne to increase axially 


modelling with the ut ornl codes
Modelling with the UT/ORNL codes

Lei Chang

Juan Caneses

Radial wave profiles in reasonable agreement – usually requires ~10ei

Further work required matching ne profiles in (r,z) with experiment



  • Use all 3 axes of the Toroidal Mirnov Array polarisation
  • Bayesian MHD Mode Analysis
  • Toroidal visible light imaging (Neon, He)
  • Correlation of multiple visible light, Mirnov and n~ e data
  • Spatial and Hybrid Spatial/Temporal Coherence Imaging
  • Island, chaotic and open field line physics
  • Plasma Surface Interaction physics

Facility upgrade

  • Improve facilities for developing divertor and edge diagnostics
  • Study stellarator islands, divertors, baffles e.g. 6/5 island divertor
  • Develop “plasma wall interaction” diagnostics
  • Increase Power /Field on Materials Diagnostic Facility (H-1 power sys)
  • multiple plasma sources, approach ITER edge