Design and Construction of Field Reversed Configuration Plasma Chamber for Plasma Material Interaction Studies
Smith, DuWayne Leland
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A Field Reversed Configuration (FRC) plasma source was designed and constructed to conduct high energy plasma-materials interaction studies. The purpose of these studies is the development of advanced materials for use in plasma based electric propulsion systems and nuclear fusion containment vessels. Outlined within this thesis is the basic concept of FRC plasmoid creation, an overview of the device design and integration of various diagnostics systems for plasma conditions and characterization, discussion on the variety of material defects resulting from the plasma exposure with methods and tools designed for characterization. Using a Michelson interferometer it was determined that the FRC plasma densities are on the order of ~1021 m-3. A novel dynamic pressure probe was created to measure ion velocities averaging 300 km/s. Compensating flux loop arrays were used to measure magnetic field strength and verify the existence of the FRC plasmoid and when used in combination with density measurements it was determined that the average ion temperatures are ~130 eV. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) was employed as a means of characterizing the size and shape of the plasma jet in the sample exposure positions. SEM results from preliminary studies reveal significant morphological changes on plasma facing material surfaces, and use of XRD to elucidate fuel gas-ion implantation strain rates correlated to plasma exposure energies.