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The detection limit for helium (He) partial pressure monitoring via the Penning discharge optical emission diagnostic, mainly used for tokamak divertor effluent gas analysis, is shown here to be possible for He concentrations down to 0.1% in predominantly deuterium effluents. This result from a dedicated laboratory study means that the technique can now be extended to intrinsically (non-injected) He produced as fusion reaction ash in deuterium-tritium experiments. The paper also examines threshold ionization mass spectroscopy as a potential backup to the optical technique, but finds that further development is needed to attain with plasma pulse-relevant response times. Both these studies are presented in the context of continuing development of plasma pulse-resolving, residual gas analysis for the upcoming JET deuterium-tritium campaign (DTE2) and for ITER.


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