- Art Gallery -

The ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility is a part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Padova, Veneto, Italy.[1] The facility will host the full-scale prototype of the reactor's neutral beam injector, MITICA, and a smaller prototype of its ion source, SPIDER.[2] SPIDER started its operation in June 2018. SPIDER will be used to optimize the ion beam source, to optimize the use of cesium vapor, and to verify the uniformity of the extracted ion beam also during long pulses.

ITER Heating Neutral Beams

To deliver power to the fusion plasma in ITER, two heating neutral beam injectors will be installed. They are designed to provide the power of 17MW each, through the 23m beamlines, up to the four-meter diameter container: in order to deposit sufficient heating power in the plasma core instead of the plasma edges, the beam particle energy shall be about 1 MeV, thus increasing the neutral beam system complexity to an unprecedented level. This will be the main auxiliary heating system of the reactor. Due to its low conversion efficiency, the neutral beam injector first needs to start a precursor negative ion beam of 40A, and then neutralizes it by passing it through a gas cell (with an efficiency <60%), and then by a residual ion dump (the remaining 40% — 20% negative, 20% positive). The neutralized beam is then dumped on a calorimeter during conditioning phases, or coupled with the plasma. Further reionization losses or interception with the mechanical components reduce its current to 17A.[3]


The role of the test facility includes research and development on the following topics:

voltage holding: due to neutron environment, this will be the first beam source at -1MV with vacuum insulation instead of gas insulation (SF_6 gas is typically used);
negative ion formation: the requirement on the extracted current density from the cesiated ion source is at the limit of the present technology of plasma ion sources.
beam optics: the precursor ion beam is generated in a multigrid electrostatic accelerator, having 1280 apertures in each of the 7 grids composing it. Since the overall width of the beam along the beam drift (about 25 meters) is due to the optics of each of the 1280 beamlets, the grid alignment and the disturbances produced by magnetic fields and electrostatic error fields are to be carefully verified.
vacuum pumps: two 8m long, 1.6m high cryopumps will be installed on each side of the vacuum vessel. The fatigue life of components operating with cycles between 4K and 400K is to be verified.
heat load on mechanical components: on the electrodes used for beam acceleration, and along the beam path, mechanical components are subject to very high thermal loads. These loads are continuously applied during long pulses, up to 1h. These loads are anyhow lower than the heat loads expected on the ITER divertor plates.

Prototypes at the NBTF
Negative ion extraction with reduced number of beamlets, in early volume operation of SPIDER (May/June 2019)

SPIDER is the first large experimental devices to start the operation at the test facility (May 2018). The components of MITICA are currently under procurement, with its first operation expected in late 2023.

The design parameters of SPIDER are the following:

Type: caesiated surface-plasma negative ion source
Plasma source: 8 cylindrical RF drivers, operated at 1 MHz, connected to a single 0.8x1.6x0.25 m expansion chamber
Process gas: hydrogen or deuterium
Extracted hydrogen negative ion beam current: 54A (target value)
Electrodes and nominal voltages: Plasma Grid (-110kV), Extraction Grid (-100kV), Grounded Grid (0V)
Number of beamlets and multi-beamlet beam pattern: 1280 beamlets separated into 4x4 beamlet groups of 5x16 beamlets each

During 2018, the plasma discharge by eight ion source RF drivers were optimised. In 2019 the operation with hydrogen negative ion beam begun: for the first year, SPIDER will operate with a reduced number of beamlets (80 instead of 1280).

The capabilities of SPIDER and MITICA are listed in the following table in comparison with the objectives of the ITER Heating Neutral Beam and with other pre-existing devices.
Experiment First operation Beam energy Target negative ion beam current Ion source type Accelerator type Neutraliser type Beamline length Neutral beam equivalent current Target single beamlet divergence (gaussian 1/e)
ELISE[4] Dec 2012 ~60 kV ~27 A (hydrogen) RF-driven caesiated surface-plasma source Multi-aperture electrostatic triode - ~5 m - -
SPIDER May 2018 110 kV 54 A (hydrogen) RF-driven caesiated surface-plasma source Multi-aperture electrostatic triode - ~5 m - -
MITICA 2023 (expected) 880 kV (hydrogen) / 1000 kV (deuterium) 40 A (hydrogen) RF-driven caesiated surface-plasma source Multi-grid multi-aperture concept (7 electrodes) 4 Gas cells ~13 m 16.7 A <7 mrad
ITER HNB TBD 880 kV (hydrogen) / 1000 kV (deuterium) 40 A RF-driven caesiated surface-plasma source Multi-grid multi-aperture concept (7 electrodes) 4 Gas cells ~22.5 m 16.7 A <7 mrad
See also

Neutral beam injection


V. Toigo, D. Boilson, T. Bonicelli, R. Piovan, M. Hanada, et al. 2015 Nucl. Fusion 55:8 083025
LR Grisham, P Agostinetti, G Barrera, P Blatchford, D Boilson, J Chareyre, et al., Recent improvements to the ITER neutral beam system design, Fusion Engineering and Design 87 (11), 1805-1815
World's largest test facility for negative ion sources opens to develop heating for ITER – December 2012. Retrieved on 2019-08-02.


Fusion power, processes and devices
Core topics

Nuclear fusion
Timeline List of experiments Nuclear power Nuclear reactor Atomic nucleus Fusion energy gain factor Lawson criterion Magnetohydrodynamics Neutron Plasma


Alpha process Triple-alpha process CNO cycle Fusor Helium flash Nova
remnants Proton-proton chain Carbon-burning Lithium burning Neon-burning Oxygen-burning Silicon-burning R-process S-process


Dense plasma focus Field-reversed configuration Levitated dipole Magnetic mirror
Bumpy torus Reversed field pinch Spheromak Stellarator Tokamak
Spherical Z-pinch


Bubble (acoustic) Laser-driven Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion


Fusor Polywell

Other forms

Colliding beam Magnetized target Migma Muon-catalyzed Pyroelectric

Devices, experiments
Magnetic confinement




Canada STOR-M United States Alcator C-Mod ARC
SPARC DIII-D Electric Tokamak LTX NSTX
PLT TFTR Pegasus Brazil ETE Mexico Novillo [es]


HT-7 SUNIST India ADITYA SST-1 Japan JT-60 QUEST [ja] Pakistan GLAST South Korea KSTAR


European Union JET Czech Republic COMPASS GOLEM [cs] France TFR WEST Germany ASDEX Upgrade TEXTOR Italy FTU IGNITOR Portugal ISTTOK Russia T-15 Switzerland TCV United Kingdom MAST-U START STEP


United States CNT CTH HIDRA HSX Model C NCSX Costa Rica SCR-1


Australia H-1NF Japan Heliotron J LHD


Germany WEGA Wendelstein 7-AS Wendelstein 7-X Spain TJ-II Ukraine Uragan-2M
Uragan-3M [uk]


Italy RFX United States MST

Magnetized target

Canada SPECTOR United States LINUS FRX-L – FRCHX Fusion Engine


Russia GDT United States Astron LDX Lockheed Martin CFR MFTF
TMX Perhapsatron PFRC Riggatron SSPX United Kingdom Sceptre Trisops ZETA

Inertial confinement

United States Argus Cyclops Janus LIFE Long path NIF Nike Nova OMEGA Shiva




European Union HiPER Czech Republic Asterix IV (PALS) France LMJ LULI2000 Russia ISKRA United Kingdom Vulcan


United States PACER Z machine


Thermonuclear weapon
Pure fusion weapon

International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility

Physics Encyclopedia



Hellenica World - Scientific Library

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License