Abstract

Radial electron density profiles of a toroidal belt pinch plasma have been obtained by a single measurement. Collimated ruby laser light, incident on the plasma, is focused to a diffraction-limited spot (100 μm). The technique, a variation of the dark-ground microscope, involves masking the center of the plasma diffraction pattern with a thin wire. Undiffracted light is blocked by a thin wire, whereas light diffracted by the plasma is spread beyond the wire and onto a photoplate. The resulting interference generates a high-contrast fringe pattern whose intensity varies as 1 − cosΔϕ, where Δϕ is the phase shift induced by the plasma. The fringes are recorded on Polaroid-type 46L transparency film. Using this technique, radial density profiles of the plasma produced in the Columbia Torus I belt pinch have been measured. The plasma minor cross section is elliptical with 2a ∼ 2 cm, 2b ∼ 30 cm, and 〈n(0)〉 ∼ 3 × 1016/cm3. Average densities as low as 2 × 1015/cm3 have been measured.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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