Micronor worked closely with F4E to conduct initial feasibility studies, before eventually winning the contract in 2019
Awarded contracts in 2019 and 2020, Micronor, LLC (a division of Photon Control in Richmond British Columbia, Canada) (TSX: PHO) is one of the many innovative technology companies collaborating with Fusion For Energy (F4E), the European Union organization managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, a the largest fusion energy project in history. Located in the south of France, ITER (Latin for “The Way”) is an ambitious collaboration between thirty-five nations whose aim it is to build the world’s largest tokamak, a device to test the feasibility of fusion energy. Built according to the same principles that power our Sun and stars, the vessel of the machine will withstand temperatures up to 150 million degree Celsius. Micronor will supply its patented fiber optic sensing technology as a solution to the many environmental difficulties that come along in such harsh and hazardous conditions.
With almost two-decades of experience, Micronor has a track record of delivering on high-stakes applications. Since its inception, the Camarillo-based company has designed an array of fiber optic sensors immune to EMPs (Electromagnetic Pulses) for applications ranging from military aircraft to MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines used in hospitals and medical research. “The number and variant of all kinds of different sensing solutions we have engineered over all these years has truly made us specialists in this field,” says Robert Rickenbach, Principal Engineer at Micronor and longtime Ventura County resident.
This expertise is what ultimately led F4E to contact the team of engineers at Micronor. Seeking to address its need to implement a high-resolution position measurement system, Micronor was offered the opportunity to contribute its technology to a highly specialized diagnostic system known as an In-Vessel Viewing and Metrology System (IVVS). This system allows for 3D mapping of elements inside the ITER device. Such imaging, which detects on a microscopic level any damage or erosion to the components that might occur during operation, makes it an integral part of keeping the ITER plant running safely in addition to providing crucial data on future design improvements. “Micronor encoders record two of the three dimensions of the mapping of the ITER components, meaning they are key to the performance of the system. F4E has been hugely impressed by the in-depth technological expertise of the Micronor team, and their willingness to push beyond the minimum performance requirements. We look forward to integration of the encoders in a full-scale prototype in the coming months.”
Micronor worked closely with F4E to conduct initial feasibility studies, before eventually winning the contract in 2019 to develop a set of functional prototype encoders. In order to achieve the required product, the engineers at Micronor led by Rickenbach, redesigned the hardware from ground up. New parts were custom built, with mechanical designs and machining completed by the mechanical engineering team at Micronor in Switzerland before arriving in Camarillo where further assembly of encoder disks and fiber optic components occurred. “Being able to tap into the mechanical expertise of our colleagues in Switzerland enabled us to achieve superior accuracy and precision,” says Rickenbach about the collaboration.
Long a dream of Scientists looking for an abundant and safe form of energy production, fusion power has presented itself as a solution to the environmental hazards posed by finite energy sources such as fossil fuels.
“We are very proud of being part of this ambitious endeavor. Though it is a small piece in the puzzle, being able to support such an important project with our unique technology acquired over two decades of hard work and dedication is extremely fulfilling,” says Rickenbach.
Micronor LLC (www.micronor.com) is a Photon Control company located in Camarillo, California. It was founded in 2003 by Robert Rickenbach and Dennis Horwitz with the sole intention of solving the intricate problem of sensing motion by utilizing only light. This unique technological approach allows for the tracking and measurement of movements in environments where electrical sensors cannot otherwise function.
Photon Control Inc. (“Photon Control”) (TSX: PHO), a leading manufacturer of fiber optic measurement solutions to the semiconductor and other industries.
Fusion for Energy
Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the European Union’s organisation for Europe’s contribution to ITER.
One of the main tasks of F4E is to work together with European industry, SMEs and research organisations to develop and provide a wide range of high technology components together with engineering, maintenance and support services for the ITER project.
F4E supports fusion R&D initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement signed with Japan and prepares for the construction of demonstration fusion reactors (DEMO).
900 Calle Plano, Suite K
Camarillo, CA 93012 USA
Contact: Robert Rickenbach
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