— News: 2019-12-01

Helicon plasma cell prototype setup for AWAKE project at CERN finished – research is commencing.

We are working as member of the AWAKE project at CERN on the development of a helicon plasma cell to be used as acceleration stage in the innovative particle driven wake-field particle accelerator concept. This work aims on development of a special diagnostic that can measure plasma densities in the high 10^20 m-3 range with sub-percent relative accuracy. This is a grand challenge and a key measurement to qualify helicon cells for the application in the accelerator concept. Recently a nice news article at CERN has been published summarizing these activities, that take place in a collaborative team between CERN, IPP Greifswald and the Swiss Plasma Center in Lausanne. See here for more information https://home.cern/news/news/experiments/awake-more-plasma-more-acceleration. Our graduate student Michael Zepp is shown in action on the eye-catcher photo of this article (image credit: CERN).

Presently a helicon cell with same geometrical properties and a similar radio-frequency setup is being established in the lab at Madison to aid the diagnostic development as well as research on understanding the link between RF deposition and ionization. The cell will be twice as long as the prototype at CERN to start investigating the physic of scaling the cell to longer module length.

This work is funded by the National Science foundation under NSF CAREER award PHY-1455210 and by NSF/Doe Partnership funding under grant PHY-1903316.


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This is the group webpage for plasma edge physics and plasmas surface interactions in presence of three-dimensional (3D) plasma boundaries.Plasma edge layer at ITER transformed into a 3D system by application of small amplitude, external magnetic control fields.

This is a situation relevant to tokamak devices with resonant magnetic field perturbations applied and stellarators as inherently 3D systems.

We tackle the cutting edge topics in the field on large-scale facilities and address important basic plasma science questions such as generation of high-density plasmas with helicon waves. The later topic has become relevant recently for next-generation wakefield accelerators and we are a member of the AWAKE project at CERN.

We post the most recent developments in the group on this side – including recent scientific achievements, lab updates and publication updates.

An overview of group members and actual topics and devices can be found here.

Interested? Join the team!

Contact: Professor Oliver Schmitz

oschmitz@wisc.edu | +1 (608) 263 1547