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In high power neutral beams for fusion, beam uniformity is an important figure of merit. Knowing the transverse power profile is essential during the initial phases of beam source operation, such as those expected for the ITER heating neutral beam (HNB) test facility. To measure it a diagnostic technique is proposed, based on the collection of secondary electrons generated by beam-surface and beam-gas interactions, by an array of positively biased collectors placed behind the calorimeter tubes. This measurement showed in the IREK test stand good proportionality to the primary beam current. To investigate the diagnostic performances in different conditions, we developed a numerical model of secondary electron emission, induced by beam particle impact on the copper tubes, and reproducing the cascade of secondary emission caused by successive electron impacts. The model is first validated against IREK measurements. It is then applied to the HNB case, to assess the locality of the measurement, the proportionality to the beam current density, and the influence of beam plasma.


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