Population modelling of the He II energy levels in tokamak plasmas: I. Collisional excitation model

K D Lawson, K M Aggarwal, I H Coffey, F P Keenan, M G O'Mullane

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Helium is widely used as a fuel or minority gas in laboratory fusion experiments, and will be present as ash in DT thermonuclear plasmas. It is therefore essential to have a good understanding of its atomic physics. To this end He II population modelling has been undertaken for the spectroscopic levels arising from shells with principal quantum number n = 1-5. This paper focuses on a collisional excitation model; ionisation and recombination will be considered in a subsequent article. Heavy particle collisional excitation rate coefficients have been generated to supplement the currently-available atomic data for He II, and are presented for proton, deuteron, triton and -particle projectiles. The widely-used criterion for levels within an n shell being populated in proportion to their statistical weights is reassessed with the most recent atomic data, and found not to apply to the He II levels at tokamak densities (10 18 -10 21 m -3 ). Consequences of this and other likely sources of errors are quantified, as is the effect of differing electron and ion temperatures. Line intensity ratios, including the so-called 'branching ratios' and the fine-structure β 1 , β 2 , β 3 and γ ratios, are discussed, the latter with regard to their possible use as diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045001
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • He II
  • population modelling
  • spectral line intensity ratios
  • Tokamak plasmas


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