The decision to construct the first reactor scale fusion machine, ITER, marks a commitment by the world to develop fusion as an alternative sustainable clean energy source. The science and technology of materials under extreme heat loads are critical to the success of plasma fusion reactors such as ITER and is an area requiring significant research and development. A major challenge for successful operation is to control thermal and particle transport at the boundary that isolates the fusion core (108 K) from the low temperature wall (103 K).
The purpose-built linear plasma device, the MAGnetized Plasma Interaction Experiment (MAGPIE), has been constructed in the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU) to develop novel diagnostics and test materials under aggressive plasma conditions. This linear plasma device employs a combination of a high-power radio-frequency plasma source, a target chamber and a set of diagnostics for plasma and material analysis.
We are combining plasma studies with advanced material characterisation methods to improve the current understanding of materials exposed to fusion relevant conditions. The non-intrusive plasma diagnostic techniques include pulsed-induced fluorescence, laser induced fluorescence and optical emission spectroscopy. These are applied to investigate erosion and fuel retention (or surface-recombination coefficient) of materials. Of particular interest to this research program is the interdependent effect of thermal and particle fluxes at the plasma-material interface.
Both experimental and modeling based projects can be undertaken.