Powering the future
Nuclear fusion is the process of combining nuclei to produce a new bigger atomic nucleus. When atomic nuclei combine they release a large amount of energy, giving hope for a new source of power in the future. Research in this field largely involves attempts to recreate a reaction similar to that occurring in the sun by fusing two types of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, to create helium. This requires considerable energy as the gas has to be heated to very high temperatures, up to 100 million degrees Celsius, causing it to become a plasma.
Nuclear fusion research, to a large extent, involved understanding the behavior of plasma. One of the major challenges faced by scientists is the ability to sustain plasma by maintaining the right pressure. Hence the need for large-scale, effective vacuum systems that ensure ultra-high vacuum in the large reactor vessels/cryogenic system surrounding the superconducting magnetic field coils, and which can withstand very high temperatures, ionising radiation and high magnetic fields.
To meet these ever evolving demands, Edwards has designed and developed a special bespoke pump, based on our nEXT turbomolecular pump technology, which will be evaluated in some of the major research facilities including ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). Equipped with a unique radiation resistant envelope around its rotor and electronics, the pump is also capable of providing an increased magnetic resistance. This, along with the flexibility of end-user serviceability, makes it ideal for nuclear research facilities.