One of the challenges of a tokamak fusion reactor is managing the interactions between the plasma and its container. For the most part, the plasma is prevented from touching the walls by the guiding magnetic field, but at one part of the tokamak, the 'divertor', magnetic field lines guide plasma directly into the wall. Current fusion experiments are not as powerful as a future reactor would be and plasma durations are short enough that this is not yet a critical issue, but a reactor will require a 'detached divertor': some way to prevent the 100MW/m^2 heat flux of the divertor plasma from directly touching the wall. The Lithium Vapor Box divertor is a scheme to introduce a localized cloud of lithium vapor between the divertor plasma and the wall. The plasma excites the lithium, causing it to glow and ionize while cooling the plasma enough so that it recombines into a neutral gas, thereby redistributing the power and protecting the wall.
My thesis work is concerned with designing, constructing and testing a lithium vapor box linear test-stand device.