The Source Characterization and Measurement Facility

Rensselaer Plasma Dynamics Lab

This area is under development.

The Source Characterization and Measurement (SCAM) facility is a dedicated testbed for testing and evaluating hot filament ion source fabrication techniques and operating procedures.


The mission of the Source Characterization and Measurement Facility (SCAM) is the improvement of the hot filament ion sources used in Heavy Ion Beam Probing (HIBP). Advancements in fabrication and operating procedures hold the potential for increased reliability and quality of the diagnostic.

The SCAM provides a simple ion beamline dedicated to source testing which can be cycled quickly and easily.


The SCAM consists of a small vacuum chamber fitted with an ion accelerator (gun) and an ion detector. The gun accelerates ions produced by heating zeolite laced with the element of interest. A tungsten filament embedded in the zeolite accomplishes the heating. Here is a schematic of the SCAM.

Here is a (very similar) schematic showing more detail of the control system.

Present Status

At the moment, the SCAM is not operational. However, most of the parts are on the workbench at the far east end of the Plasma Lab. The vacuum system is usable, but the foreline trap should be installed for long-term operation. The gun is mounted with a source (of unknown quality and quantity) installed. The source current supply is disassembled. The detector is installed.

Proposed Experiments

Experiments will focus on determining the best fabrication and operation techniques through analysis of repeated trials with varied parameters.

This page was written by Bill Russell. Any questions on it should be addressed to John Schatz (