Journal article

Practical solutions for reliable triple probe measurements in magnetized plasmas

The triple probe method to obtain local, time-resolved measurements of density, electron temperature and plasma potential is investigated in detail. The difficulties in obtaining reliable measurements with this technique are discussed and overcome. These include phase delay errors, ion sheath expansion and limited bandwidth due to stray capacitance to ground. In particular, a relatively simple electronic circuit is described to strongly reduce stray capacitance. Measurements with the triple probe are presented in a plasma characterized by interchange-driven turbulence in the TORPEX device. The measured time-averaged and time-dependent, conditionally averaged parameters are cross-checked with other Langmuir probe based techniques, and show good agreement. Triple probe measurements show that electron temperature fluctuations are sufficiently large, such that the identification of plasma potential fluctuations with fluctuations of the floating potential is not a good approximation. Over a large radial region, the time-averaged fluctuation-induced particle flux can, however, be deduced from floating potential only. This is because the phase shift between density and electron temperature is close to zero there and temperature fluctuations do not give rise to a net radial particle transport.

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