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The Australian National University
2010-2011 Annual Report

2010-2011 Annual Report

The Super Science Initiative Scheme, announced in the 2009-10 Federal Budget, provided for a major infrastructure upgrade to the H-1 facility, which is now known as the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility (the Facility). The proposed outcomes of this financial support are:

  • Significant improvements to the plasma formation and heating systems, vacuum systems and plasma diagnostic and data systems. 
  • Enhanced accessibility of plasma data and diagnostic information. 
  • Dual use of heating, magnet supply and diagnostic systems with a new high power and high plasma density Materials Diagnostic Development Facility (MDF).
  • The development of diagnostic tools, which it is hoped, will ultimately be installed on the international fusion experiment ITER, identified as a central plank of the “Strategy for Australian Fusion Science and Engineering” developed by the Australian ITER Forum in consultation with the Australian fusion community.

All upgrade project milestones in the Annual Business Plan for this year were met. Some were brought forward, some delayed, and the upgrade is a little ahead of schedule overall.  These include:

  • The Materials Diagnostic Facility has begun operation in argon and hydrogen, and Langmuir probe, magnetic wave field probes and spectroscopic diagnostics provided.
  • The power amplifier system upgrade to the H-1 radiofrequency plasma heating system is being installed after removal of the old system, and refurbishment of the area.
  • A new, 24 channel fibre-optic based fast timer and trigger system allows distribution of synchronised programmable clocks and trigger pulses to an accuracy of 20ns.
  • Simple but powerful web-based access has been provided to raw data from H-1, as well as an extensive database of magnetic configurations, and associated software.
  • Two diagnostics for H-1 have been upgraded; a dedicated spectral impurity line monitor has been commissioned, and the coherence imaging camera has been integrated into the data system.
  • A third magnetic field control parameter has been implemented increasing flexibility.

H-1 has been taken off line since the end of May to implement a number of these upgrades, and work is proceeding well on the RF transmission components and the new antenna, which should be ready for testing with the new sources at the end of the year.  A new laboratory has been prepared for MDF adjacent to the H-1 power systems, to allow dual use of RF and magnet power, and to provide adequate space for future instruments and diagnostics.

The upgrade team is now complete, with the arrival of Dr. Fenton Glass (diagnostics) and Dr. Bernhard Seiwald (databases).  Outreach activities this year include contributing to the new Australian ITER Forum strategy plan for fusion, and organisation of an international plasma workshop opening in Canberra in late January 2012.

Highlights covered in more detail include:

Research Highlights

The toroidal Mirnov array, installed as part of the EIF upgrade, regularly provides information on toroidal mode number, polarization of mode magnetic fields, and frequency response in excess of 300kHz, none of which was available before.

High quality images of plasma mode structure have been obtained by synchronous imaging, coupled with in-situ calibration of magnetic configuration data by electron beam imaging and tomography

Novel plasma measurement systems and advanced signal processing algorithms developed for high-resolution plasma studies on the H-1 Facility are now being deployed on, or adopted by fusion devices and research establishments around the world, including General Atomics (USA), the Max Planck Institute for Fusion Science (Germany), The National Fusion Research Institute (Korea).

Upgrade Highlights

The Materials Diagnostic Development Facility (MDF) prototype has been constructed and has begun operation in argon and hydrogen.  Initial diagnostics include a movable optical CCD-based imaging diagnostic and an automated Langmuir probe.

The new website and data server has been expanded to provide user-friendly access to raw data from plasma pulses, processed summary data, and a database of over 100 magnetic configurations through a unified interface.

A precision current controller allows three parameters of the magnetic configuration to be controlled, providing access to new magnetic configurations.

The pulse timing system has been upgraded to 24 channels, 20ns resolution over 10 seconds while maintaining synchronous pulses.

Upgrades to optical diagnostics include integration of the coherence imaging camera into the data system, and a dedicated spectral line impurity monitor with spatial resolution.


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Updated:  26 October 2012/Responsible Officer:  H-1 Facility Manager /Page Contact:  H-1 Website Administrator