Characterizing W sources in the all-W wall, all-RF WEST tokamak environment

the WEST Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experimental data, together with interpretive modeling tools, are examined to study trends in the tungsten (W) source in the all-W environment of the WEST tokamak, both from the divertor and from the main chamber. In particular, a poloidal limiter protecting an ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH) antenna is used as proxy for main chamber sourcing. The key study is carried out by stepping up lower hybrid current drive (LHCD) power, as the only auxiliary power source. Limiter and divertor W sources exhibit a qualitatively similar proportionality to the total power crossing the separatrix, P SEP, although the main chamber source remains substantially lower than the divertor source, for the range of P SEP accessible in the experiments. Intepretive modeling of the limiter source is carried out with a particle-in-cell (PIC) sheath model coupled to a surface sputtering model. Oxygen is used as a proxy for all light impurity species allowing for characterization of the critical W erosion regions. To get a good quantitative match to the data, it is necessary to assume that the oxygen arrives at the surface mostly at high ionization stages (4+ and above). A separate simulation with SOLEDGE-EIRENE, constrained to measured upstream scrape-off-layer plasma profiles, gives oxygen fractional abundances that are compatible with the PIC simulation result. This is understood to arise from transport processes that dominate over recombination. Substituting the LHCD by ICRH, in an equivalent experiment, the local W source exhibits a 3× enhancement. This can be matched by the simulation, by assuming local RF electric field rectification, based on ∼100 eV peak-to-peak, near-antennna electric field. This work has highlighted the particular importance of understanding the ion charge state balance of light impurities as these are most likely the dominant sputtering species in fusion devices with high-Z walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104008
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • WEST
  • edge plasma modelling
  • light impurity transport
  • plasma sheath
  • tungsten erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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