Dr. Scott Silburn
UK Atomic Energy Authority

Scott Silburn is a senior viewing & infrared system expert at UK Atomic Energy Authority, who has worked with infrared & visible imaging systems on the flagship Joint European Torus (JET) fusion experiment between 2014 and the end of its operation in 2023. His areas of work include development and operation of imaging instrumentation and image analysis techniques for fusion plasmas, and participation in the UK and EUROfusion fusion science research programmes, focusing on using imaging data to address plasma-wall interaction and related areas of study. He completed his PhD research on “coherence imaging” spectroscopic imaging techniques for fusion plasmas with the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, Durham University and UKAEA in 2014. 

Visible & infrared imaging in magnetic confinement fusion

Confinement of high temperature plasmas to produce net power from nuclear fusion is a highly active area of research & development. Optical instrumentation is vital for operating and understanding today’s experimental devices, and visible & infrared imaging play key roles. Applications range from providing visual feedback to engineers & operators, to sensing for real-time control and making physics observations of plasma phenomena spanning timescales of microseconds to seconds.

Current experimental facilities employ a range of imaging technologies, with complexity ranging from off-the-shelf cameras and lenses viewing through vacuum windows, to bespoke reflective image relays with tens of metres track length, multispectral imaging, and specialised narrow-band spectroscopic & polarimetric imaging. Fusion devices pose a unique operating environment for optics & detectors, with challenging combinations of thermal, particle & radiation and electromagnetic loads. Towards power-plant scale facilities, these challenges will be extreme and necessitate new approaches to imaging instrument design and applications.

In this talk an overview of the applications, current techniques, and opportunities & challenges for further development of imaging systems in magnetic confinement fusion will be presented - with examples focusing on work at the UK’s MAST Upgrade facility and the European flagship device JET, both operated at UKAEA’s Oxfordshire campus. 

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