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ASE Optics Europe to Design Metrology System for Nuclear Fusion Experiment

Photonics.com
Nov 2015
BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 3, 2015 — ASE Optics Europe has secured a subcontract for the design upgrade of metrology equipment to be used in an international nuclear fusion project.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is under construction in southern France. Led by Fusion for Energy (F4E), the project seeks to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source. The device will use magnetic fields to confine superhot plasma inside a doughnut-shaped cavity with the aim of producing 10 times more energy than the device consumes.

Primary contractor Oxford Technologies Ltd. is developing a robot device to be used for inspection and maintenance inside the reactor. As a subcontractor, ASE will be responsible for design, mockup and testing of an in-vessel viewing and metrology system (IVVS).

"The IVVS is a critical metrology instrument which will be deployed inside the reactor chamber to measure the erosion of the chamber walls and ultimately be able to assess the amount of material which the plasma has eroded," said Dr. Thomas Siegel, head of R&D at ASE.

ASE said it won the subcontract because of its expertise in optical design, laser technology, and development of precision and custom optical systems.

"After joining the IVVS project at a late stage, ASE Optics have impressed F4E with their ability to rapidly absorb the large amount of technical information related to the system, and have already made a number of key design recommendations that should offset some major technical risks in the project," said Dr. Philip Bates of ITER's remote handling project team.

"ASE’s innovative optical analysis and design work, backed up by their physical prototyping and testing, should allow a large reduction in complexity of the IVVS," Bates said. "This will result in reduced cost and improved reliability for this key ITER diagnostic system."

ASE Optics Europe develops custom optoelectronic and optomechanical systems, precision optics, and prototypes, and provides optical engineering support for companies and research facilities. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rochester Precision Optics Co. of New York.


GLOSSARY
metrology
The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
fusion
1. The combination of the effects of two or more stimuli in any given sense to form a single sensation. With respect to vision, the perception of continuous illumination formed by the rapid successive presentation of light flashes at a specified rate. 2. The transition of matter from solid to liquid form. 3. With respect to atomic or nuclear fusion, the combination of atomic nuclei, under extreme heat, to form a heavier nucleus.
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