Diagnosing the density profile at the edge of high temperature fusion plasmas by an accelerated lithium beam is a known technique since decades. By knowledge of the relevant atomic physics rate coefficients, the plasma electron density profile can be calculated from the relatively calibrated light profile along the beam. Several additional possibilities have already been demonstrated: Charge Exchange Resonance Spectroscopy (CXRS) for ion temperature/flow and Zeeman polarimetry for edge plasma current; therefore the Li-beam diagnostic offers a wealth of information at the plasma edge. The weaknesses of the method are the relatively faint light signal, background light, and technical difficulties of the beam injector which usually seriously limit the applicability. In this talk, we present systematic developments in alkali-beam diagnostics (Li, Na) for the injector and the observation system and detectors which resulted in strongly increased capabilities. Advanced systems have been built, and microsecond scale density profile, turbulence, and zonal flow measurement have been demonstrated. A novel edge current measurement technique has also been designed, and components have been tested with potential microsecond-scale time resolution. Additional possibilities of these advanced systems for spectral measurements (CXRS and various Zeeman schemes) are also discussed.
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