During the second week of December 2015, some exciting things were happening, of course involving Vision Research Phantom High Speed cameras! We teamed up with experimental physicist Zhehui (Jeff ) Wang and his team from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. We carried out a very cool experiment to support simulation modeling and new technology development for magnetic fusion. Our experiment was conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder. We were able to stage the experiments in their impressive hypervelocity dust facilities thanks to Professor Tobin Munsat and his team.
This was a proof-of-concept experiment capturing tiny glowing molten particles at high speeds to help physicists build better simulations and models for their research on plasma-material interaction, a new frontier in magnetic fusion. The process showcased the Phantom v2512’s high frame rates and great light sensitivity. The experiment was conducted by connecting one, or multiple, thin wires (down to 50microns in diameter) between two electrodes, then sending a high-voltage (up to 2KV) electric pulse through the wires. We shot the exploding wires from various angles using two Phantom v2512 cameras set between 25,000fps all the way up to 100,000fps. Occasionally, we added two Hive Wasp 250’s as our light source. From these amazing shots we then created Cine files to study the trajectories of the microparticles from the explosions. During the experiment, our Phantom cameras observed a new phenomenon, where small glowing particles exploded into even smaller particles. This occurrence had no references in any literature thus far, so further testing was conducted. A vacuum chamber was then brought into play by David James of the UC Boulder team to test whether or not the phenomenon was related to combustion (an oxygen based chemical reaction). In using this vacuum chamber, which removed most of the oxygen, then conducting the test again, the minor explosions of particles did not occur.
This experiment was intended to help the physicists observe these particles more closely, which then helps them build better simulations and models, that in turn will build better physics models and experimental techniques that will lead to better understanding of plasma-material interactions and development of new technologies to mitigate the effects of wall melting, a significant challenge for ITER, which is a multi-billion international collaboration hosted by France. What our Phantom cameras ended up catching was something we did not expect, a terrific new phenomenon that may lead to further discoveries. These shots also highlight the power of the extreme high frame rates and excellent sensitivity of the Phantom Ultrahigh-speed cameras, and their role in progressing science that will benefit the society in magnetic fusion energy. Take a look at the video and photos from the experiment, and just imagine what the cameras can do for your research. More scientific details can be found in the paper titled “ Four-dimensional (4D) tracking of high-temperature microparticles” by Wang et al. [Z. Wang, Q. Liu, W. Waganaar, J. Fontanese, D. James and T. Munsat, Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 87, (2016) 11D601.]
Too see the experiment in action watch our Youtube video Microparticles in action.