2010 MAST Research Forum
1 - 2 December 2010

The MAST Research Forum is held annually to review progress and discuss forward plans. The 7th Research Forum will be held over two full days on 1st - 2nd December 2010 in the John Adams Lecture Theatre at the Culham Science Centre, Abingdon, UK. The Forum is open to all fusion scientists. In particular, we greatly value the contributions of our collaborators and warmly encourage them to participate. Outline plans and priorities for the 2011 campaign will be presented and discussed for each of the main MAST programme areas, in the light of recent progress and key research needs. In support of the agreed programme we are also inviting submission of detailed experimental proposals (deadline 31st December 2010). Further information and guidance on proposal submission may also be found below.

Further information on participation in the forum, the latest agenda and remote connection information is given below. This information will be updated regularly.


Details of how to reach Culham can be found on the main CCFE web site.

MAST Physics Programme

The mission of MAST is as follows:
  • To explore the long term potential of the spherical tokamak as a fusion component test facility (CTF) and/or ST power plant (STPP)
  • To advance key tokamak physics for optimal exploitation of ITER and DEMO design optimisation
  • To provide unique insight into underlying tokamak physics
The next MAST Physics Campaign (M8) is expected to run from Feb/Mar to Aug/Sep 2011 and will be organised around the following research areas:

MAST Research Areas 2010

The main thrust will be on ELM and pedestal physics to include studies of ELM control using resonant magnetic perturbations and L-H transition physics. High priority will also be given to physics studies in support of MAST Upgrade.

Outline plans and priorities will be presented and discussed at the Research Forum. The programme will be executed via detailed experimental proposals.

Proposal Submission

Detailed experimental proposals should be submitted using this web form by 31st December 2010. (Contributors are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with the contact persons in advance of submission).

MAST Facilities

MAST has a poloidal plasma cross-section and plasma current comparable to those in medium sized conventional tokamaks such as DIII-D in the USA and ASDEX Upgrade in Germany. It is designed to study high temperature, low aspect ratio, highly elongated (κ > 2) plasmas. The MAST load assembly comprises a large cylindrical vacuum vessel (height 4.4m, diameter 4m) with internal poloidal field coils. This is a very adaptable arrangement that allows considerable flexibility over plasma and divertor configurations, enables enhancements to be more easily implemented, offers outstanding diagnostic access and plasma imaging opportunities, and allows innovative plasma start-up techniques to be employed. MAST parameters are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1: MAST parameters
Minor & Major radii a, R [m]0.65, 0.850.65, 0.85
Elongation, κ≥22.6
Minimum aspect ratio, A1.31.3
Plasma current, Ip [MA]21.45
Toroidal field, Bt [T] at R00.520.52
Neutral beam heating power, Pnbi [MW]53.8
Pulse length [s]50.7

MAST is equipped with two long pulse, high power, neutral beam injectors (NBI) based on JET-style PINI sources and a high power microwave system in the electron cyclotron frequency range (28GHz), for plasma start-up studies. It has external coils for error field compensation and internal coil arrays for both control of edge localised modes (ELMs) and controlled excitation of toroidal Alfven eigenmode (TAE) instabilities. A divertor science facility enhances the capability to conduct controlled investigations of plasma-material interactions. MAST benefits from a comprehensive array of advanced, and in some cases world leading, diagnostics. Notable capabilities include very high temporal and spatial resolution (~ion Larmor radius ~1cm) kinetic diagnostics (Thomson scattering, charge exchange recombination spectroscopy, MSE etc.), extensive 2D imaging (visible, infra-red, microwave) diagnostics, magnetic measurements up to 5MHz, a retarding field energy analyzer for scrape-off layer ion temperature measurements and > 500 Langmuir probes. A major upgrade to the Thomson scattering system (part funded by York University) was completed in 2009 and now provides very high spatial and temporal resolution measurements of the electron density and temperature profiles. Operation of the eight Nd:YAG lasers in 'burst mode', together with a new 'event triggering' system, allows measurements to be synchronised to plasma events with sub-microsecond temporal resolution. Various plasma fuelling techniques are available, including gas puffing from a range of outboard and inboard locations and a cryogenic multi-pellet injector (donated by FOM, Netherlands). A fast gas valve has been installed for disruption mitigation studies (collaboration with FZJ Germany). MAST is also equipped with a digital plasma control system and has exploited real-time equilibrium reconstruction. The MAST control room, which underwent a major refurbishment in 2008, is equipped with remote participation facilities. High purity plasma conditions are ensured by high temperature baking, periodic boronisation and inter-shot helium glow discharge cleaning.

Major technical developments being installed during 2010, and available for the 2011 campaign include: additional internal ELM control coils; a collimated neutron detector array, in collaboration with Uppsala University, Sweden; a 2D beam emission spectroscopy (BES) system in collaboration with RMKI Hungary; a fast ion deuterium-alpha (FIDA) diagnostic and a fast detector for the edge Doppler spectroscopy system (ECELESTE). These improvements will extend our capabilities to study ELM control, plasma fluctuations and fast ion behaviour.

MAST is jointly funded by EURATOM and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.