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Master Thesis: Deuterium retention in Reduced-activation ferritic-martensitic (RAFM) steels exposed to mixed plasmas

Advertising institute: IEK-4 - Plasma Physics
Reference number: D145/2017, Physics

Work start: anytime or by arrangement

About us
The Institute of Energy and Climate Research develops technologies and materials for application in thermonuclear fusion reactors. We study plasma surface interactions in our in-house linear plasma device PSI-2, in the Europe’s largest tokamak JET (United Kingdom) and stellarator Wendelstein 7-X (Germany). We test and design plasma facing materials for extreme conditions and run simulations to model processes in plasma, at plasma-material interface and inside material components of future fusion reactors ITER and DEMO.

Project description
Reduced-activation ferritic-martensitic (RAFM) steels such as EUROFER 97 (EU’97) were developed as structural materials for fusion reactors. Recently the application area of RAFM steels was considered to be extended to plasma facing materials (PFM) in reactor areas with low thermal and plasma loads. To conclude about the applicability of RAFM steels as PFM for ITER and DEMO reactors, hydrogen retention analysis should be done. Therefore, we examine deuterium desorption from EU’97 exposed to low energy high flux deuterium plasmas. Seeding of noble gases is also foreseen in future reactors, e.g. for power exhaust by radiation

This work aims to find relationships between the increasing seeding fraction in plasma, surface morphology of the exposed material and deuterium retention, with the focus on characteristics of deuterium binding in and release from the material.

Deuterium implantation into the steel subsurface is carried out in the PSI-2 linear plasma generator. Sample characterization includes scanning electron microscopy combined with focused ion beam technique and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/FIB/EDX), nuclear reaction analysis and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (NRA/RBS), and thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS), the key method of this project..

Your task
In this work you will experimentally investigate deuterium retention in RAFM steel upon mixed plasma exposures and will find how it is influenced by seeding of noble gases like e.g. helium, neon, argon or krypton under varying conditions (seeding fraction, surface temperature etc.). You will get an introduction to the topic by conduction of a literature survey about RAFM steels and EU’97 in particular. Also you will get training on sample surface polishing. Then, you will plan and participate in plasma exposures of EU’97 steel and reference materials, perform or participate in microscopy (SEM) and depth profile (NRA) analysis, and determine the integral deuterium retention and it’s trapping states by means of TDS measurements. Finally, you will analyze data and prepare the thesis.

Your profile
You are a highly motivated student of physics or of a related field and have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and experimental work. You are familiar with basic principles of mass spectrometry. Previous experience with vacuum technology (high or ultrahigh vacuum) is advantageous but not a must.

Did we raise your attention and you get curious? We are looking forward to your application. Please contact:

Ms. Dr. Yulia Martynova
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Institute of Energy and Climate Research - Plasma Physics (IEK-4)

Telephone: +49 2461614885