Conference paper

Solutions for thermally mismatched brazing operations for ceramic tokamak magnetic sensor

To monitor high-frequency fluctuations of the equilibrium magnetic field in tokamaks, a 3D magnetic sensor has been developed. The sensor, which is positioned inside the vacuum vessel behind the protective tiles of the tokamak and is exposed to potential temperatures up to 400°C, is based on thick-film and LTCC (low-temperature co-fired ceramic) technology. To connect the sensor to the cabling that runs inside the vacuum vessel, mineral-insulated cables have to be brazed to the sensor to ensure electrical connection together with mechanical robustness and sufficient thermal stability. As the brazing temperature is about 600°C, direct brazing to the alumina sensor substrate can cause failure by cracking induced by thermal stresses. It arises both by temperature gradients stemming from the localised heating and by the high thermal mismatch of alumina with the braze and wire materials. In previous work, high stresses from temperature gradients were efficiently decoupled by brazing indirectly to alumina beams attached to the main substrate, and local thermal stresses between alumina and braze/wire by using a porous metallisation. However, as the slender alumina beams protruding out of the substrate are somewhat cumbersome and fragile, three alternatives were studied in the present work: 1) testing shorter and more robust beams, 2) replacing the alumina beam by a silver wire, and 3) depositing a porous temperature- and stress-decoupling dielectric to enable direct brazing on the main alumina substrate. These solutions are characterised with respect to their mechanical robustness and of the degree of thermal decoupling with the substrate they provide.

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