Light ion accelerators (such as protons and deuterons) at very high intensity (typically exceeding 50 mA) have numerous applications in various fields of physics. From the IFMIF accelerator project, to characterize future materials for fusion reactors, to IPHI-Neutrons, to produce images through neutron radiography, CEA is involved in many projects that require the design and construction of very high-intensity ion sources. The increasing demand for intensity and beam quality from these ion sources requires a better understanding and prediction of their operation.
Ion sources are composed of a plasma chamber inserted into a magnetic coil, in which a gas heated by an RF wave is injected. The produced ions are extracted from the chamber using an electric field applied to extraction electrodes. Their operation depends on a large number of parameters. Determining an ideal set of parameters is very complex to achieve, and no software currently exists to reliably predict its proper functioning.
CEA has been working for several years on the design of a test bench, BETSI, to test and optimize various ion sources for future accelerator projects. Experimental campaigns have been conducted in the past on this test bench to systematically test sets of parameters.
In the context of this thesis, we propose to develop a simulation code that takes into account all the parameters that we can qualify on BETSI (from past experiments or new ones). We will be able then to use the code to propose new sources for upcoming accelerator projects.