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Magnetic Reconnection experiments on vtf

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The Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF). Diameter is 3.5 m.

  • Azimuthally symmetric vacuum chamber (base pressure ~10^-6 torr)
  • Toroidal magnetic field (~100 mT) from orange coils
  • Microwave power (~15 kW) initiates breakdown by electron cyclotron resonant heating
  • Plasmas typically produced from argon, helium, or hydrogen
  • Plasma lasts up to ~30 ms depending on magnetic configuration
  • Density up to 10^18 m^-3, electron temperature up to 15 eV, cold ions (~1 eV)
  • Fast digitization (2 MHz) of large number of signals (~800 channels)

A couple of animations by Mark Bessette (working with professor John Belcher) show some of the key features of the machine:

VTF_Outside.mpg (4 MB, mpeg). Notice the waveguide (for microwaves), vacuum pump station, and various probes drives.



VTF_Inside_Spin.mpg (3 MB, mpeg). Notice the various probe array (Langmuir, magnetic loops, fluctuation probe, etc.). The green coils are used to create an x-like magnetic field structure, used for what we call our closed magnetic configuration.





A cross-section of the machine is also available here.


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massachusetts institute of technology