Measurements of the neutron emission, resulting from nuclear fusion reactions between the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, can provide a wealth of information on the confinement properties of fusion plasmas and how these are affected by Magneto-Hydro-Dynamic (MHD) instabilities.
This thesis describes work aimed to develop neutron measurement techniques for nuclear fusion plasma experiments, specifically regarding the performance and design of collimated neutron flux monitors (neutron cameras) for the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak, MAST, and for MAST Upgrade. The first part of the thesis focuses on the characterization of a prototype neutron camera installed at MAST and provides an account of the very first measurements of the neutron emissivity along its collimated fields of view. It is shown that the camera has sufficient temporal and spatial resolution to measure the effect of MHD instabilities on the neutron emissivity. The neutron camera fulfils the requirement on the measurements of the neutron count rate profile with less than 10 % statistical uncertainty in a time resolution of 1 ms. The instrument's more rudimentary capabilities to provide information on the neutron energy distribution are also presented and discussed. The encouraging results obtained with the prototype neutron camera show the potential of a collimated neutron flux monitor at MAST and suggest that an upgraded instrument for MAST Upgrade will provide crucial information on fast ions behavior and other relevant physics issues.
The design of such an upgraded instrument for MAST Upgrade is discussed in the second part of the thesis. Two design options are explored, one consisting of two collimator arrays in the horizontal direction, another more traditional design with lines-of-sight in the poloidal cross section plane. On the basis of the experience gained with the prototype neutron camera and on the exploratory design and estimated performance for the upgraded camera presented here, a conceptual design of a neutron camera upgrade is proposed.