We have demonstrated a vacuum suitcase to transport samples in vacuo to a surface analysis station for characterization of tokamak plasma facing components (PFCs). This technique enables surface analysis at powerful, dedicated stations that are not encumbered by design constraints imposed on them by a tokamak. The vacuum suitcase is an alternative solution to characterizing PFCs using diagnostics that are designed and built around a tokamak. The vacuum suitcase, called the Sample Exposure Probe (SEP), features mobile ultra-high vacuum pumping. Active pumping under high vacuum enables sample transfer between the Lithium Tokamak eXperiment-β (LTX-β) and a high resolution X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) system that is situated close by. A thermocouple inserted in the back of the sample head measures heat flux from the plasma during exposure, and together with a button heater, allows the sample to match the LTX-β PFCs in high temperature operations. As vacuum conditions are better during transfer and analysis than in the tokamak, less contamination is introduced to the samples. XPS scans on a dedicated analysis station enable peak identification due to higher resolution and signal to noise ratio. A similar probe could be implemented for other fusion devices. The SEP is the first vacuum suitcase implementation for fusion applications that incorporates active pumping.
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