Retarding field energy analyzer for the JET plasma boundary
Retarding field analyzers (RFAs) are essentially the only practical tool with which to measure the distribution of ion energies in the boundary plasma of magnetic fusion devices. The technique has long been attempted in such facilities with varying degrees of success, but, by virtue of the delicate nature of these material probes and the hostile environment in which they are inserted, its use has been limited to smaller plasma machines with easier access and more tolerable plasma conditions. This article describes in detail a new RFA probe head recently constructed and tested on the large JET tokamak facility and now being used for plasma physics studies. Emphasis is placed on the details of design and mechanical construction as they relate to the particularly harsh conditions imposed both by the JET boundary plasma and the requirement that the probe be used to sample this plasma by insertion via a multiple plunge, fast reciprocating drive system. Some preliminary physics results are also included demonstrating both successful operation of the new device and discussing its limitations. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.