A three dimensional probe positioner
In order to sort out the physics that is important in many plasma experiments, data in three dimensions 3D are becoming necessary. Access to the usual cylindrical vacuum vessel is typically restricted to radially or axially insertable probes that can pivot. The space that can be explored usually has significant restrictions either because probe travel must be along a travel path, or a “wobbly” probe positioner requires one to map between a moveable coordinate system and a preferred laboratory coordinate system. This could for example introduce errors in measurements of vector quantities such as magnetic field or flow. We describe the design and implementation of a 3D probe positioner that slides in two dimensions on a double O-ring seal and radially inserts along the third dimension. The net result is that a 3D space can be explored in a laboratory Cartesian reference frame.