Helsingin yliopisto

 

Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Sticking and erosion at carbon-containing plasma-facing materials in fusion reactors

Petra Träskelin

Doctoral dissertation, August 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Sciences.

Controlled nuclear fusion is one of the most promising sources of energy for the future. Before this goal can be achieved, one must be able to control the enormous energy densities which are present in the core plasma in a fusion reactor. In order to be able to predict the evolution and thereby the lifetime of different plasma facing materials under reactor-relevant conditions, the interaction of atoms and molecules with plasma first wall surfaces have to be studied in detail. In this thesis, the fundamental sticking and erosion processes of carbon-based materials, the nature of hydrocarbon species released from plasma-facing surfaces, and the evolution of the components under cumulative bombardment by atoms and molecules have been investigated by means of molecular dynamics simulations using both analytic potentials and a semi-empirical tight-binding method.

The sticking cross-section of CH3 radicals at unsaturated carbon sites at diamond (111) surfaces is observed to decrease with increasing angle of incidence, a dependence which can be described by a simple geometrical model. The simulations furthermore show the sticking cross-section of CH3 radicals to be strongly dependent on the local neighborhood of the unsaturated carbon site.

The erosion of amorphous hydrogenated carbon surfaces by helium, neon, and argon ions in combination with hydrogen at energies ranging from 2 to 10 eV is studied using both non-cumulative and cumulative bombardment simulations. The results show no significant differences between sputtering yields obtained from bombardment simulations with different noble gas ions. The final simulation cells from the 5 and 10 eV ion bombardment simulations, however, show marked differences in surface morphology. In further simulations the behavior of amorphous hydrogenated carbon surfaces under bombardment with D+, D+2, and D+3 ions in the energy range from 2 to 30 eV has been investigated. The total chemical sputtering yields indicate that molecular projectiles lead to larger sputtering yields than atomic projectiles.

Finally, the effect of hydrogen ion bombardment of both crystalline and amorphous tungsten carbide surfaces is studied. Prolonged bombardment is found to lead to the formation of an amorphous tungsten carbide layer, regardless of the initial structure of the sample. In agreement with experiment, preferential sputtering of carbon is observed in both the cumulative and non-cumulative simulations

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Last updated 07.08.2006

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