MEMs Fabricated Ion Spectrometer for Nuclear Fusion Reactor Reseach

Period of Performance: 06/08/2015 - 03/07/2016

$150K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Research Corp.
4459 White Bear Parkway Array
White Bear Lake, MN 55112
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

As magnetically confined plasmas progress towards ignition and very long pulse experiments, the physics of the pedestal and divertor regions has become increasingly important. There is a critical need for comprehensive measurements in boundary layer plasmas and the importance of such measurements to the improvement of predictive numerical simulations. The focus of this proposal is the direct, spatially resolved, measurement of the energy spectra of ions in the edge of a plasma using in-situ probes that are easily replaced and require minimal resources. This will be accomplished by the development of a Micro Scale Ion Spectrometer. In the Phase I research, a proof of concept device will be fabricated and tested. This device will be constructed of sensing elements of the same size as a fully functional device and hence provide a very high degree of confidence in the applicability of this instrument. The benefits of a successful completion of Phase I and Phase II are significant in that the resulting sensor and instrument of a new Micro Ion Spectrometer which will exhibit extremely small size and low power consumption and which can be positioned and manipulated easily inside sealed chambers such as plasma and related vacuum process chambers. The MIS sensor has the potential to play a useful role in fundamental physic plasma research such as in fusion plasma devices and in the broader community of plasma physics and chemistry research at national research laboratories, private industry, and universities. The extended commercial applications include the gamut of plasma processes as used in semiconductor manufacturing technologies. It is thought that all plasma processing equipment are a potential site for on-board OEM packages of the MIS that could fulfill the need for real time in-situ plasma sensing. Future developments of the sensor will be that of a Micro Mass Spectrometer. The extension to semiconductor device processing will help create semiconductor structures that will lead to new and novel devices. In space based applications, such as being a part of the instrumentation package for CubeSats and other micro-satellites, the new device can be used to yield new information about energetic charged particles ion the heliosphere and magnetosphere and thereby support the expanding field of space weather research. Early warnings of space weather events are critically needed for space-based communications infrastructure and ground-based electrical distribution networks.