SOLPS-ITER simulations of a vapour box design for the linear device Magnum-PSI

A vapour box is a physical device currently being considered to reduce the high heat and particle fluxes typically impacting the divertor in tokamaks. This system usually consists of a series of boxes that retains neutral particles to increase the amount of collision events with the impacting plasma. The neutral particles come from recycling and recombination of the plasma, gas puffing inside the box or by the evaporation of a liquid metal, typically Li or Sn. Currently, a vapour box is being constructed for testing in the linear plasma generator Magnum-PSI, operated at DIFFER. Its modular design will allow for open (not enclosing the target) and closed (enclosing the target) configurations, as well as evaporating a liquid metal to create a vapour cloud inside the box. The experiments carried out with this device will investigate its capabilities to reduce the plasma flux towards the target. This work presents a numerical study performed with SOLPS-ITER about the effectiveness of the current vapour box design in its open configuration to retain neutrals and its effect on the plasma beam properties. This is a first step before validation against experiments and studying closed configurations to ensure that the VB can successfully operate in a wide range of plasma parameters. Simulations show that the VB is capable of retaining neutrals and reducing fluxes to the target without requiring additional gas puffing in High and Low plasma flux scenarios. When lithium is evaporated from inside the box, the hydrogen plasma is completely extinguished and replaced by a low temperature \ce{Li} plasma with lower flux. The fraction of Li and Li+ transported upstream the vapour box is three orders of magnitude below the amount evaporated form the central box, as most of the lithium is condensed in the side boxes and another small portion (two orders of magnitude below the amount evaporated) is deposited on the target. The VB design in its open configuration can mitigate incoming plasma peak heat flux by 0.6 MW m-2, which represents a fraction of 75% and 81% for the High and Low flux scenarios. This effect is expected to be higher when a closed configuration is employed, which could result in a significant reduction of heat fluxes on the divertor of tokamaks once that this design is extrapolated to the toroidal geometry, with just a minimal amount of Li and Li+ reaching the core.
Year of Publication
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Number of Pages
Alternate Journal
Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion
Journal Article