Polarisation of the Balmer-α emission in crossed electric and magnetic fields

Alex Thorman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    An analysis of the polarisation structure of the Balmer-α emission in the presence of electric and magnetic fields is presented, with an emphasis on motional Stark effect polarimetry for fusion plasma diagnostics. When the fields are orthogonal, as is the case for neutral heating beams injected into a magnetised plasma, some degeneracy remains in the Stark–Zeeman energy levels and the magnetic quantum number is not well defined. The polarisation structure from the degenerate states is underdetermined and therefore volatile to weaker interactions that resolve this degeneracy, a critical subtlety that has previously been overlooked. A perturbation theory analysis finds distinct polarisation structures for the σ emission that apply when the fine-structure and microscopic electric fields are considered. It is found that only the σ ± 1 polarisation orientation is sensitive to upper-state populations (which are non-statistically weighted for neutral beam injection into a target gas), but with appropriate viewing geometries and beam injection directions the effect can be made negligible.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-15
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


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