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Investigations into penetration depth profiles of hydrogenic species in beryllium plasma-facing components via molecular dynamics simulations

  • Liptak, A
  • Lawson, K D
  • Hasan, M I
Published Article
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
IOP Publishing
Publication Date
Feb 15, 2024
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6587/ad20f9
  • Paper


During the operation of nuclear fusion reactors, plasma-facing components lining the reactor vessel are continually bombarded by plasma species. The penetration and subsequent trapping of these bombarding plasma ions has implications for component damage as well as in-vessel inventory. Accurately predicting the expected ion penetration depth profiles at a range of plasma ion and surface temperatures typical of fusion reactor operating conditions will inform the scrape-off layer design to limit particle radiation damage and tritium trapping in order to prolong the lifetime of the plasma-facing components and satisfy the DT fuel cycle requirements. By defining a statistical distribution for ion penetration depth and describing the evolution of its parameters across the fusion parameter space of interest, the expected ion deposition depth profiles can be calculated for any subset of ion and surface temperature ranges as needed. Molecular dynamics simulations were used to study the bombardment of beryllium lattices with surface temperatures of up to 1100 K by 5 eV–150 eV deuterium and tritium ions, and the resulting ion penetration depths were investigated. The distributions of two penetration depth quantities, considered from the perspectives of lattice damage and hydrogen retention are defined and their distribution parameter dependence on surface and ion temperature is identified. The expected positive correlation between penetration depth and ion temperature is observed, where the non-linear relationship between these quantities indicates the expected form of the velocity dependence of nuclear stopping power at low bombardment energies. Isotope effects on the distributions are also investigated, with results suggesting that heavier ions have comparably lower mobility within the sample and will generally accumulate closer to the surface. A short study on ion deposition rates is also performed; a non-linear increase of deposition rate with increasing bombarding ion energy has been observed, and evidence of a weak positive surface temperature correlation has been noted.

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