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10 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 148.
Title Magnum-PSI: a world-class user facility to tame the plasma-wall interface (MPSI)
Executive organisational unit DIFFER
Programme management Prof.dr. M.R. de Baar a.i.
Duration 2014-2018
Cost estimate M€ 2.3

The objective
The objective of this programme is:

To develop and operate Magnum-PSI as a world-class international facility for plasma-surface interaction research under extreme conditions of heat and particle fluxes. This will be accomplished by providing access to the facility to users from within Europe and the broader international community (e.g. USA, China, Japan) and strengthening the in-house research programme along the following lines:

  • Address urgent issues related to the use of tungsten for the ITER divertor, such as the impact of synergistic effects on the material resistance to extreme heat flux.
  • Develop the science of novel plasma-facing materials concepts, based on the use of liquid metals or nano-crystalline radiation resistant metals, to solve the power exhaust issue of future fusion reactors.

Background, relevance and implementation
Taming the plasma-wall interaction challenge, i.e. designing materials able to survive under the extreme conditions of a fusion reactor while being compatible with high performance plasma operations, is arguably the most daunting task on the road to a fusion reactor. As device size and fusion power increase, the limitations to operating regimes become dominant. In ITER, the operating scenarios are already constrained to limit the heat flux to plasma facing armored surfaces. In larger, higher power, steady-state DEMO-class devices, the operational window may be vanishingly small or nonexistent. These imposed limitations are partially due to an incomplete understanding of both the underlying physics and technology governing the coupling between the plasma and the surrounding surfaces.

The Magnum-PSI device, at DIFFER, has been designed to specifically evaluate the impact of intense plasma flux, transient plasma events, long pulses, and elevated temperatures on the performance of surface materials and designs. It therefore has the potential to make a signi­ficant impact in the fusion community and help progress our understanding of material behavior under extreme conditions, opening the door to design and test of novel material concepts.

This programme will be implemented through collaborations between the in-house research group and the large number of international collaborations, already in place or being developed. An integrated approach is followed whereby the collaborative work feeds directly within the in-house research programme.

The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2018.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2014 within this FOM programme here.