Synchronization of Thomson scattering measurements on MAST using an FPGA based 'Smart' trigger unit

Naylor, G.
October 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Oct2010, Vol. 81 Issue 10, p10E110
Academic Journal
The MAST Thomson scattering diagnostic has recently been upgraded to make electron density and temperature measurements at 130 points across the 1.5 m diameter of the plasma. The new system is able to take 240 measurements per second using eight Nd:YAG lasers, each running at 30 Hz. The exact firing time of these lasers is adjusted with 100 ns precision using a field programmable gate array based trigger unit. Trigger pulses are produced to fire the lamps of all lasers and the Q switches with the appropriate delay depending on the warm-up status. The lasers may be fired in rapid bursts so as to achieve a high temporal resolution over eight points separated down to the microsecond level. This trigger unit receives optical trigger events and signals from external sources, allowing the trigger sequences to be resynchronized to the start of the plasma pulse and further events during the shot such as the entry of a fuelling pellet or randomly occurring plasma events. This resynchronization of the laser firing sequence allows accurate and reproducible measurements of fast plasma phenomena.


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