Recent advances towards a lithium vapor box divertor

Robert James Goldston, A. Hakim, G. W. Hammett, M. A. Jaworski, J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Fusion power plants are likely to require near complete detachment of the divertor plasma from the divertor target plates, in order to have both acceptable heat flux at the target to avoid prompt damage and also acceptable plasma temperature at the target surface, to minimize long-term erosion. However hydrogenic and impurity puffing experiments show that detached operation leads easily to x-point MARFEs, impure plasmas, degradation in confinement, and lower helium pressure at the exhaust. The concept of the Lithium Vapor Box Divertor is to use local evaporation and strong differential pumping through condensation to localize low-Z gas-phase material that absorbs the plasma heat flux and so achieve detachment while avoiding these difficulties. The vapor localization has been confirmed using preliminary Navier–Stokes calculations. We use ADAS calculations of εcool, the plasma energy lost per injected lithium atom, to estimate the lithium vapor pressure, and so temperature, required for detachment, taking into account power balance. We also develop a simple model of detachment to evaluate the required upstream density, based on further taking into account dynamic pressure balance. A remarkable general result is found, not just for lithium-vapor-induced detachment, that the upstream density divided by the Greenwald-limit density scales as nup/nGW ∝ (P5/8/B3/8) Tdet1/2/(εcool + γTdet), with no explicit size scaling. Tdet is the temperature just before strong pressure loss, assumed to be ∼ ½ of the ionization potential of the dominant recycling species, and γ is the sheath heat transmission factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1121
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Materials and Energy
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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