Improving Ion Source Antenna Lifetime for the Spallation Neutron Source
Robust H ion sources are a key component for the Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL. Antennas used to produce H ions often fail when plasma heats the protective insulating coating on the antennas, exposing the bare metal and causing structural failure. Reducing antenna failures, which are expensive and reduce the operating capability of the source, is the top priority of the SNS H Source Program at ORNL. Our numerical modeling of the plasma interaction with insulating surfaces in the H source will provide an optimization of antenna design that will reduce antenna failure for the SNS. We propose to use high-performance computing software packages Vorpal and Nautilus to perform innovative simulations of plasma interactions with rf antennas in ion sources such as the one in use at SNS. We will use novel modeling capabilities to develop accurate simulations that are otherwise not achievable using traditional Particle-In-Cell plasma simulation algorithms. We plan to develop specialized software modules that will allow researchers to easily model rf ion sources and other plasma devices and take advantage of high-performance computing to optimize plasma device designs. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: As detailed in the commercialization plan, the ability to optimize plasma device design using computer models will help researchers and industrial companies in a number of fields, including ion source fabrication, ion implantation for the semiconductor industry, plasma processing, and thin film deposition. Researchers doing neutron scattering science at the SNS will also benefit from increased reliability as a result of reducing ion source downtime due to antenna failures at the facility.
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