Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Werner U. Boeglin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Douglass S. Darrow

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Oren V. Maxwell

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Richard A. Bone

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Michael C. Sukop

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


charged fusion products

Date of Defense



Designs for future nuclear fusion power reactors rely on the ability to create a stable plasma (hot ionized gas of hydrogen isotopes) as a medium with which to sustain nuclear fusion reactions. My dissertation work involves designing, constructing, testing, installing, operating, and validating a new diagnostic for spherical tokamaks, a type of reactor test facility. Through detecting charged particles emitted from the plasma, this instrument can be used to study fusion reaction rates within the plasma and how they are affected by plasma perturbations. Quantitatively assessing nuclear fusion reaction rates at specific locations inside the plasma and as a function of time can provide valuable data that can be used to evaluate theory-based simulations related to energy transport and plasma stability.

The Proton Detector (PD), installed in the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Abingdon, England, was the first instru- ment to experimentally detect 3 MeV Protons and 1 MeV Tritons created from deuterium- deuterium (hydrogen isotopes) nuclear fusion reactions inside a spherical tokamak’s plasma. The PD consists of an array of particle detectors with a protective housing and the neces- sary signal conditioning electronics and readout. After several years of designing (which included simulations for detector orientations), fabricating, and testing the PD, it was installed in MAST and data were collected over a period of two months in the summer of 2013. Proton and triton rates as high as 200 kHz were measured and an initial radial profile of these fusion reaction rates inside the plasma was extracted.

These results will be compared to a complementary instrument at MAST as well as theory-based simulations and form the knowledge basis for developing a larger future in- strument. The design and performance of all instrument components (electrical, computa- tional, mechanical), and subsequent data analysis methods and results are described in this dissertation.



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