[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The linear stability properties of the microtearing mode are investigated in the edge and core regimes of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) using the particle-in-cell method based gyrokinetic code GEM. The dependence of the mode on various equilibrium quantities in both regions is compared. While the microtearing mode in the core depends upon the electron-ion collisions, in the edge region, it is found to be weakly dependent on the collisions and exists even when the collision frequency is zero. The electrostatic potential is non-negligible in each of the cases. It plays opposite roles in the core and edge of NSTX. While the microtearing mode is partially stabilized by the electrostatic potential in the core, it has substantial destabilizing effect in the edge. In addition to the spherical tokamak, we also study the microtearing mode for parameters relevant to the core of a standard tokamak. The fundamental characteristics of the mode remain the same; however, the electrostatic potential in this case is destabilizing as opposed to the core of NSTX. The velocity dependence of the collision frequency, which is crucial for the mode to grow in slab calculations, is not required to destabilize the mode in toroidal devices.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theory and experiments have shown that electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence on the electron gyro-scale, k⊥ρe ≲ 1, can be responsible for anomalous electron thermal transport in NSTX. Electron scale (high-k) turbulence is diagnosed in NSTX with a high-k microwave scattering system [D. R. Smith et al., Rev. Sci. Instrum. 79, 123501 (2008)]. Here we report on stabilization effects of the electron density gradient on electron-scale density fluctuations in a set of neutral beam injection heated H-mode plasmas. We found that the absence of high-k density fluctuations from measurements is correlated with large equilibrium density gradient, which is shown to be consistent with linear stabilization of ETG modes due to the density gradient using the analytical ETG linear threshold in F. Jenko et al. [Phys. Plasmas 8, 4096 (2001)] and linear gyrokinetic simulations with GS2 [M. Kotschenreuther et al., Comput. Phys. Commun. 88, 128 (1995)]. We also found that the observed power of electron-scale turbulence (when it exists) is anti-correlated with the equilibrium density gradient, suggesting density gradient as a nonlinear stabilizing mechanism. Higher density gradients give rise to lower values of the plasma frame frequency, calculated based on the Doppler shift of the measured density fluctuations. Linear gyrokinetic simulations show that higher values of the electron density gradient reduce the value of the real frequency, in agreement with experimental observation. Nonlinear electron-scale gyrokinetic simulations show that high electron density gradient reduces electron heat flux and stiffness, and increases the ETG nonlinear threshold, consistent with experimental observations.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this letter, we report the first observation of the fast response of electron-scale turbulence to auxiliary heating cessation in National Spherical Torus eXperiment [Ono et al., Nucl. Fusion 40, 557 (2000)]. The observation was made in a set of RF-heated L-mode plasmas with toroidal magnetic field of 0.55 T and plasma current of 300 kA. It is observed that electron-scale turbulence spectral power (measured with a high-k collective microwave scattering system) decreases significantly following fast cessation of RF heating that occurs in less than 200 μs. The large drop in the turbulence spectral power has a short time delay of about 1–2 ms relative to the RF cessation and happens on a time scale of 0.5–1 ms, much smaller than the energy confinement time of about 10 ms. Power balance analysis shows a factor of about 2 decrease in electron thermal diffusivity after the sudden drop of turbulence spectral power. Measured small changes in equilibrium profiles across the RF cessation are unlikely able to explain this sudden reduction in the measured
turbulence and decrease in electron thermal transport, supported by local linear stability analysis and both local and global nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations. The observations imply that nonlocal flux-driven mechanism may be important for the observed turbulence and electron thermal transport.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) is currently being upgraded to operate at twice the toroidal field and plasma current (up to 1 T and 2 MA), with a second, more tangentially aimed neutral beam (NB) for current and rotation control, allowing for pulse lengths up to 5 s. Recent NSTX physics analyses have addressed topics that will allow NSTX-Upgrade to achieve the research goals critical to a Fusion Nuclear Science Facility. These include producing stable, 100% non-inductive operation in high-performance plasmas, assessing plasma–material interface (PMI) solutions to handle the high heat loads expected in the next-step devices and exploring the unique spherical torus (ST) parameter regimes to advance predictive capability. Non-inductive operation and current profile control in NSTX-U will be facilitated by co-axial helicity injection (CHI) as well as radio frequency (RF) and NB heating. CHI studies using NIMROD indicate that the reconnection process is consistent with the 2D Sweet–Parker theory. Full-wave AORSA simulations show that RF power losses in the scrape-off layer (SOL) increase significantly for both NSTX and NSTX-U when the launched waves propagate in the SOL. Toroidal Alfvén eigenmode avalanches and higher frequency Alfvén eigenmodes can affect NB-driven current through energy loss and redistribution of fast ions. The inclusion of rotation and kinetic resonances, which depend on collisionality, is necessary for predicting experimental stability thresholds of fast growing ideal wall and resistive wall modes. Neutral beams and neoclassical toroidal viscosity generated from applied 3D fields can be used as actuators to produce rotation profiles optimized for global stability. DEGAS-2 has been used to study the dependence of gas penetration on SOL temperatures and densities for the MGI system being implemented on the Upgrade for disruption mitigation. PMI studies have focused on the effect of ELMs and 3D fields on plasma detachment and heat flux handling. Simulations indicate that snowflake and impurity seeded radiative divertors are candidates for heat flux mitigation in NSTX-U. Studies of lithium evaporation on graphite surfaces indicate that lithium increases oxygen surface concentrations on graphite, and deuterium–oxygen affinity, which increases deuterium pumping and reduces recycling. In situ and test-stand experiments of lithiated graphite and molybdenum indicate temperature-enhanced sputtering, although that test-stand studies also show the potential for heat flux reduction through lithium vapour shielding. Non-linear gyro kinetic simulations have indicated that ion transport can be enhanced by a shear-flow instability, and that non-local effects are necessary to explain the observed rapid changes in plasma turbulence. Predictive simulations have shown agreement between a microtearing-based reduced transport model and the measured electron temperatures in a microtearing unstable regime. Two Alfvén eigenmode-driven fast ion transport models have been developed and successfully benchmarked against NSTX data. Upgrade construction is moving on schedule with initial physics research operation of NSTX-U planned for mid-2015.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent results on electromagnetic turbulence from gyrokinetic studies in different magnetic configurations are overviewed, detailing the physics of electromagnetic turbulence and transport, and the effect of equilibrium magnetic field scale lengths. Ion temperature gradient (ITG) turbulence is shown to produce magnetic stochasticity through nonlinear excitation of linearly stable tearing-parity modes. The excitation, which is catalyzed by the zonal flow, produces an electron heat flux proportional to β2 that deviates markedly from quasilinear theory. Above a critical beta known as the non-zonal transition (NZT), the magnetic fluctuations disable zonal flows by allowing electron streaming that shorts zonal potential between flux surfaces. This leads to a regime of very high transport levels. Kinetic ballooning mode (KBM) saturation is described. For tokamaks saturation involves twisted structures arising from magnetic shear; for helical plasmas oppositely inclined convection cells interact by mutual shearing. Microtearing modes are unstable in the magnetic geometry of tokamaks and the reversed field pinch (RFP). In NSTX instability requires finite collisionality, large beta, and is favored by increasing magnetic shear and decreasing safety factor. In the RFP, a new branch of microtearing with finite growth rate at vanishing collisionality is shown from analytic theory to require the electron grad-B/curvature drift resonance. However, gyrokinetic modeling of experimental MST RFP discharges at finite beta reveals turbulence that is electrostatic, has large zonal flows, and a large Dimits shift. Analysis shows that the shorter equilibrium magnetic field scale lengths increase the critical gradients associated with the instability of trapped electron modes, ITG and microtearing, while increasing beta thresholds for KBM instability and the NZT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper studies the effect of rotation on microinstabilities under experimentally relevant conditions in the spherical tokamak National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). The focus is specifically on the centrifugal force effects on the impurity and momentum transport in the core (
) of an H-mode plasma. Due to relatively high beta, the linear simulations predict the presence of both microtearing mode (MTM) and hybrid ion temperature gradient-kinetic ballooning mode (ITG-KBM) electromagnetic instabilities. Rotation effects on both MTM and ITG-KBM growth rates and mode frequencies are found to be small for the experimental values. However, they do influence the quasi-linear particle and momentum fluxes predicted by ITG-KBM (MTM contributes only to electron heat flux). The gradient of the intrinsic carbon impurity in the source-free core region is predicted to be locally hollow, strengthened by centrifugal effects. This result is consistent with experimental measurements and contradicts neoclassical theory that typically provides a reasonable explanation of the impurity profiles in NSTX. The diffusive and Coriolis pinch contributions to momentum transport are found to be relatively weak. Surprisingly, the strongest contribution derives from a centrifugal effect proportional to the product of rotation and rotation shear, which predicts an inward momentum flux roughly three times bigger than the Coriolis pinch, suggesting it should be considered when interpreting previous experimental pinch measurements.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Mega Ampère Spherical Tokamak (MAST) programme is strongly focused on addressing key physics issues in preparation for operation of ITER as well as providing solutions for DEMO design choices. In this regard, MAST has provided key results in understanding and optimizing H-mode confinement, operating with smaller edge localized modes (ELMs), predicting and handling plasma exhaust and tailoring auxiliary current drive. In all cases, the high-resolution diagnostic capability on MAST is complemented by sophisticated numerical modelling to facilitate a deeper understanding. Mitigation of ELMs with resonant magnetic perturbations (RMPs) with toroidal mode number n RMP = 2, 3, 4, 6 has been demonstrated: at high and low collisionality; for the first ELM following the transition to high confinement operation; during the current ramp-up; and with rotating n RMP = 3 RMPs. n RMP = 4, 6 fields cause less rotation braking whilst the power to access H-mode is less with n RMP = 4 than n RMP = 3, 6. Refuelling with gas or pellets gives plasmas with mitigated ELMs and reduced peak heat flux at the same time as achieving good confinement. A synergy exists between pellet fuelling and RMPs, since mitigated ELMs remove fewer particles. Inter-ELM instabilities observed with Doppler backscattering are consistent with gyrokinetic simulations of micro-tearing modes in the pedestal. Meanwhile, ELM precursors have been strikingly observed with beam emission spectroscopy (BES) measurements. A scan in beta at the L–H transition shows that pedestal height scales strongly with core pressure. Gyro-Bohm normalized turbulent ion heat flux (as estimated from the BES data) is observed to decrease with increasing tilt of the turbulent eddies. Fast ion redistribution by energetic particle modes depends on density, and access to a quiescent domain with ‘classical’ fast ion transport is found above a critical density. Highly efficient electron Bernstein wave current drive (1 A W −1 ) has been achieved in solenoid-free start-up. A new proton detector has characterized escaping fusion products. Langmuir probes and a high-speed camera suggest filaments play a role in particle transport in the private flux region whilst coherence imaging has measured scrape-off layer (SOL) flows. BOUT++ simulations show that fluxes due to filaments are strongly dependent on resistivity and magnetic geometry of the SOL, with higher radial fluxes at higher resistivity. Finally, MAST Upgrade is due to begin operation in 2016 to support ITER preparation and importantly to operate with a Super-X divertor to test extended leg concepts for particle and power exhaust.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct measurements of the pedestal recovery during an edge-localized mode cycle provide evidence that quasi-coherent fluctuations (QCFs) play a role in the inter-ELM pedestal dynamics. Using fast Thomson scattering measurements, the pedestal density and temperature evolutions are probed on sub-millisecond time scales to show a fast recovery of the density gradient compared to the temperature gradient. The temperature gradient appears to provide a drive for the onset of quasi-coherent fluctuations (as measured with the magnetic probe and the density diagnostics) localized in the pedestal. The amplitude evolution of these QCFs tracks the temperature gradient evolution including its saturation. Such correlation suggests that these QCFs play a key role in limiting the pedestal temperature gradient. The saturation of the QCFs coincides with the pressure gradient reaching the kinetic-ballooning mode (KBM) critical gradient as predicted by EPED1. Furthermore, linear microinstability analysis using GS2 indicates that the steep gradient is near the KBM threshold. Thus, the modeling and the observations together suggest that QCFs are consistent with dominant KBMs, although microtearing cannot be excluded as subdominant.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A representative H-mode discharge from the National Spherical Torus eXperiment is studied in detail to utilize it as a basis for a time-evolving prediction of the electron temperature profile using an appropriate reduced transport model. The time evolution of characteristic plasma variables such as beta(e), nu(*)(e), the MHD alpha parameter, and the gradient scale lengths of T-e, T-i, and n(e) were examined as a prelude to performing linear gyrokinetic calculations to determine the fastest growing micro instability at various times and locations throughout the discharge. The inferences from the parameter evolutions and the linear stability calculations were consistent. Early in the discharge, when beta(e) and nu(*)(e) were relatively low, ballooning parity modes were dominant. As time progressed and both beta(e) and nu(*)(e) increased, microtearing became the dominant low-k(theta) mode, especially in the outer half of the plasma. There are instances in time and radius, however, where other modes, at higher-k(theta), may, in addition to microtearing, be important for driving electron transport. Given these results, the Rebut-Lallia-Watkins (RLW) electron thermal diffusivity model, which is based on microtearing-induced transport, was used to predict the time-evolving electron temperature across most of the profile. The results indicate that RLW does a good job of predicting Te for times and locations where microtearing was determined to be important, but not as well when microtearing was predicted to be stable or subdominant. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the enhanced pedestal (EP) H-mode observed in the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). The defining characteristics of EP H-mode are given, namely (i) transition after the L- to H-mode transition, (ii) region of very steep ion temperature gradient, and (iii) associated region of strong rotational shear. A newly observed long-pulse EP H-mode example shows quiescent behaviour for as long as the heating and current drive sources are maintained. Cases are shown where the region of steep ion temperature gradient is located at the very edge, and cases where it is shifted up to 10 cm inward from the plasma edge; these cases are united by a common dependence of the ion temperature gradient on the toroidal rotation frequency shear. EP H-mode examples have been observed across a wide range of q95 and pedestal collisionality. No strong changes in the fluctuation amplitudes have been observed following the EP H-mode transition, and transport analysis indicates that the ion thermal transport is comparable to or less than anticipated from a simple neoclassical transport model. Cases are shown where EP H-modes were reliably generated, though these low-q95 examples were difficult to sustain. A case where an externally triggered edge localized mode (ELM) precipitates the transition to EP H-mode is also shown, though an initial experiment designed to trigger EP H-modes in this fashion was unsuccessful.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous pedestal turbulence measurements in the National Spherical
Torus Experiment assessed the spatial and temporal properties of
turbulence in the steep gradient region of H-mode pedestals during edge
localized mode (ELM)-free, MHD-quiescent periods. Here, we extend the
analysis to fluctuation amplitudes and compare observations to pedestal
turbulence simulations. Measurements indicate normalized fluctuation
amplitudes are about 1-5% in the steep gradient region. Regression
analysis indicates fluctuation amplitudes scale positively with electron
density gradient, collisionality, and poloidal beta, and scale
negatively with magnetic shear, electron density, ion temperature
gradient (ITG), toroidal flow and radial electric field. The scalings
are most consistent with trapped electron mode, kinetic ballooning mode,
or microtearing instabilities, but, notably, least consistent with ITG
turbulence. Gyrokinetic simulations of pedestal turbulence with
realistic pedestal profiles show collisional instabilities with growth
rates that increase at higher density gradient and decrease at higher
ITG, in qualitative agreement with observed scalings. Finally,
Braginskii fluid simulations of pedestal turbulence do not reproduce
scalings from measurements and gyrokinetic simulations, and suggest
electron dynamics can be a critical factor for accurate pedestal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Developing a reactor-compatible divertor has been identified as a particularly challenging technology problem for magnetic confinement fusion. Application of lithium (Li) in NSTX resulted in improved H-mode confinement, H-mode power threshold reduction, and other plasma performance benefits. During the 2010 NSTX campaign, application of a relatively modest amount of Li (300 mg prior to the discharge) resulted in a ~50% reduction in heat load on the liquid lithium divertor (LLD) attributable to enhanced divertor bolometric radiation. These promising Li results in NSTX and related modelling calculations motivated the radiative LLD concept proposed here. Li is evaporated from the liquid lithium (LL) coated divertor strike-point surface due to the intense heat flux. The evaporated Li is readily ionized by the plasma due to its low ionization energy, and the poor Li particle confinement near the divertor plate enables ionized Li ions to radiate strongly, resulting in a significant reduction in the divertor heat flux. This radiative process has the desired effect of spreading the localized divertor heat load to the rest of the divertor chamber wall surfaces, facilitating the divertor heat removal. The LL coating of divertor surfaces can also provide a 'sacrificial' protective layer to protect the substrate solid material from transient high heat flux such as the ones caused by the edge localized modes. By operating at lower temperature than the first wall, the LL covered large divertor chamber wall surfaces can serve as an effective particle pump for the entire reactor chamber, as impurities generally migrate towards lower temperature LL divertor surfaces. To maintain the LL purity, a closed LL loop system with a modest circulating capacity (e.g., ~1 l s−1 for ~1% level 'impurities') is envisioned for a steady-state 1 GW-electric class fusion power plant.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pedestal structure in NSTX is strongly affected by lithium coatings applied to the PFCs. In discharges with lithium, the density pedestal widens, and the electron temperature (Te) gradient increases inside a radius of ψN ~ 0.95, but is unchanged for ψN > 0.95. The inferred effective electron thermal
profiles reflect the profile changes:
is slightly increased in the near-separatrix region, and is reduced in the region ψN < 0.95 in the with-lithium case. The
profile shows a broadening of the region with low diffusivity with lithium, while the minimum value within the steep-gradient region is comparable in the two cases. The linear microstability properties of the edge plasma without and with lithium have been analysed. At the pedestal top microtearing modes are unstable without lithium. These are stabilized by the stronger density gradient with lithium, becoming TEM-like with growth rates reduced and comparable to E × B shearing rates. In the region ψN > 0.95, both the pre- and with-lithium cases are calculated to be unstable to ETG modes, with higher growth rates with lithium. Both cases are also found to lie near the onset for kinetic ballooning modes, but in the second-stable region where growth rates decrease with increasing pressure gradient.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The progress of physical understanding as well as parameter improvement of net-current-free helical plasma is reported for the Large Helical Device since the last Fusion Energy Conference in Daejeon in 2010. The second low-energy neutral beam line was installed, and the central ion temperature has exceeded 7 keV, which was obtained by carbon pellet injection. Transport analysis of the high-Ti plasmas shows that the ion-thermal conductivity and viscosity decreased after the pellet injection although the improvement does not last long. The effort has been focused on the optimization of plasma edge conditions to extend the operation regime towards higher ion temperature and more stable high density and high beta. For this purpose a portion of the open helical divertors are being modified to the baffle-structured closed ones aimed at active control of the edge plasma. It is compared with the open case that the neutral pressure in the closed helical divertor increased by ten times as predicted by modelling. Studies of physics in a three-dimensional geometry are highlighted in the topics related to the response to a resonant magnetic perturbation at the plasma periphery such as edge-localized-mode mitigation and divertor detachment. Novel approaches of non-local and non-diffusive transport have also been advanced.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research on the National Spherical Torus Experiment, NSTX, targets physics understanding needed for extrapolation to a steady-state ST Fusion Nuclear Science Facility, pilot plant, or DEMO. The unique ST operational space is leveraged to test physics theories for next-step tokamak operation, including ITER. Present research also examines implications for the coming device upgrade, NSTX-U. An energy confinement time, tau(E), scaling unified for varied wall conditions exhibits a strong improvement of B-T tau(E) with decreased electron collisionality, accentuated by lithium (Li) wall conditioning. This result is consistent with nonlinear microtearing simulations that match the experimental electron diffusivity quantitatively and predict reduced electron heat transport at lower collisionality. Beam-emission spectroscopy measurements in the steep gradient region of the pedestal indicate the poloidal correlation length of turbulence of about ten ion gyroradii increases at higher electron density gradient and lower T-i gradient, consistent with turbulence caused by trapped electron instabilities. Density fluctuations in the pedestal top region indicate ion-scale microturbulence compatible with ion temperature gradient and/or kinetic ballooning mode instabilities. Plasma characteristics change nearly continuously with increasing Li evaporation and edge localized modes (ELMs) stabilize due to edge density gradient alteration. Global mode stability studies show stabilizing resonant kinetic effects are enhanced at lower collisionality, but in stark contrast have almost no dependence on collisionality when the plasma is off-resonance. Combined resistive wall mode radial and poloidal field sensor feedback was used to control n = 1 perturbations and improve stability. The disruption probability due to unstable resistive wall modes (RWMs) was surprisingly reduced at very high beta(N)/l(i) > 10 consistent with low frequency magnetohydrodynamic spectroscopy measurements of mode stability. Greater instability seen at intermediate beta(N) is consistent with decreased kinetic RWM stabilization. A model-based RWM state-space controller produced long-pulse discharges exceeding beta(N) = 6.4 and beta(N)/l(i) = 13. Precursor analysis shows 96.3% of disruptions can be predicted with 10 ms warning and a false positive rate of only 2.8%. Disruption halo currents rotate toroidally and can have significant toroidal asymmetry. Global kinks cause measured fast ion redistribution, with full-orbit calculations showing redistribution from the core outward and towards V-parallel to/V = 1 where destabilizing compressional Alfven eigenmode resonances are expected. Applied 3D fields altered global Alfven eigenmode characteristics. High-harmonic fast-wave (HHFW) power couples to field lines across the entire width of the scrape-off layer, showing the importance of the inclusion of this phenomenon in designing future RF systems. The snowflake divertor configuration enhanced by radiative detachment showed large reductions in both steady-state and ELM heat fluxes (ELMing peak values down from 19 MW m(-2) to less than 1.5 MW m(-2)). Toroidal asymmetry of heat deposition was observed during ELMs or by 3D fields. The heating power required for accessing H-mode decreased by 30% as the triangularity was decreased by moving the X-point to larger radius, consistent with calculations of the dependence of E x B shear in the edge region on ion heat flux and X-point radius. Co-axial helicity injection reduced the inductive start-up flux, with plasmas ramped to 1 MA requiring 35% less inductive flux. Non-inductive current fraction (NICF) up to 65% is reached experimentally with neutral beam injection at plasma current I-p = 0.7 MA and between 70-100% with HHFW application at I-p = 0.3 MA. NSTX-U scenario development calculations project 100% NICF for a large range of 0.6 < I-p(MA) < 1.35.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progress in characterizing the edge stability and properties of the microinstabilities responsible for enhanced transport in the pedestal region is reported. The stability of the pedestal is characterized in high performance discharges on National Spherical Torus Experiment. These high performance plasmas are found to be ideal kink-peeling and ideal infinite-n ballooning unstable prior to the onset of edge-localized modes (ELM). The spatial structure of turbulence present during an ELM cycle in the pedestal region indicates poloidal spatial scales propagating in the ion diamagnetic drift direction at the pedestal top, and radial spatial scales . These propagating spatial scales are found to be poloidally elongated and consistent with ion-scale microturbulence. Both global and local gyrokinetic simulations have been performed to identify the microturbulence structure. The local gyrokinetic analysis indicates the presence of a linearly unstable hybrid kinetic ballooning mode and trapped electron mode with spatial scale and propagation direction consistent with experimental observations. In the global gyrokinetic analysis, the nonlinearly saturated potential fluctuations show radial and poloidal correlation lengths in agreement with experimental density fluctuation correlation length measurements.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonlinear simulations based on multiple NSTX discharge scenarios have progressed to help differentiate unique instability mechanisms and to validate with experimental turbulence and transport data. First nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of microtearing turbulence in a high-beta NSTX H-mode discharge predict experimental levels of electron thermal transport that are dominated by magnetic flutter and increase with collisionality, roughly consistent with energy confinement times in dimensionless collisionality scaling experiments. Electron temperature gradient (ETG) simulations predict significant electron thermal transport in some low- and high-beta discharges when ion scales are suppressed by E × B shear. Although the predicted transport in H-modes is insensitive to variation in collisionality (inconsistent with confinement scaling), it is sensitive to variations in other parameters, particularly density gradient stabilization. In reversed shear L-mode discharges that exhibit electron internal transport barriers, ETG transport has also been shown to be suppressed nonlinearly by strong negative magnetic shear, s 0. In many high-beta plasmas, instabilities which exhibit a stiff beta dependence characteristic of kinetic ballooning modes (KBMs) are sometimes found in the core region. However, they do not have a distinct finite beta threshold, instead transitioning gradually to a trapped electron mode (TEM) as beta is reduced to zero. Nonlinear simulations of this 'hybrid' TEM/KBM predict significant transport in all channels, with substantial contributions from compressional magnetic perturbations. As multiple instabilities are often unstable simultaneously in the same plasma discharge, even on the same flux surface, unique parametric dependencies are discussed which may be useful for distinguishing the different mechanisms experimentally.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Core transport of intrinsic carbon and lithium impurities is analysed in H-mode discharges in NSTX. The application of lithium coatings on graphite plasma-facing components led to high-performance H-mode discharges with edge localized mode (ELM) suppression and resulted in core carbon accumulation. Lithium ions did not accumulate and had densities less than 1% of carbon densities. Core transport codes NCLASS, NEO and MIST are used to assess the impact of lithium evaporative coatings on impurity transport. The disappearance of ELMs, due to changes in the electron pressure profiles, together with modifications in neoclassical transport, due to changes in main ion temperature and density profiles, explains the core carbon accumulation in discharges with lithium coatings. Residual anomalous transport in the pedestal region is needed to explain the experimental carbon density profile shape and evolution. The enhancement in neoclassical lithium particle diffusivities due to the high carbon concentration is partially responsible for the low lithium core concentration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microturbulence is considered to be a major candidate in driving anomalous transport in fusion plasmas, and the equilibrium E × B shear generated by externally driven flow can be a powerful tool to control microturbulence in future fusion devices such as FNSF and ITER. Here we present the first observation of the change in electron-scale turbulence wavenumber spectrum (measured by a high-k scattering system) and thermal transport responding to continuous E × B shear ramp-up in an NSTX centre-stack limited and neutral beam injection-heated L-mode plasma. It is found that while linear stability analysis shows that the maximum electron temperature gradient mode linear growth rate far exceeds the observed E × B shearing rate in the measurement region of the high-k scattering system, the unstable ion temperature gradient (ITG) modes are susceptible to E × B shear stabilization. We observed that as the E × B shearing rate is continuously ramped up in the high-k measurement region, the ratio between the E × B shearing rate and maximum ITG mode growth rate continuously increases (from about 0.2 to 0.7) and the maximum power of the measured electron-scale turbulence wavenumber spectra decreases. Meanwhile, electron and ion thermal transport is also reduced in the outer half of the plasmas as long as magnetohydrodynamic activities are not important and the L-mode plasmas eventually reach H-mode-like confinement. Linear and nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations are presented to address the experimental observations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spherical torus edge region is among the most challenging regimes for plasma turbulence simulations. Here, we measure the spatial and temporal properties of ion-scale turbulence in the steep gradient region of H-mode pedestals during edge localized mode-free, MHD quiescent periods in the National Spherical Torus Experiment. Poloidal correlation lengths are about 10 ρi, and decorrelation times are about 5 a/cs. Next, we introduce a model aggregation technique to identify parametric dependencies among turbulence quantities and transport-relevant plasma parameters. The parametric dependencies show the most agreement with transport driven by trapped-electron mode, kinetic ballooning mode, and microtearing mode turbulence, and the least agreement with ion temperature gradient turbulence. In addition, the parametric dependencies are consistent with turbulence regulation by flow shear and the empirical relationship between wider pedestals and larger turbulent structures.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Physics of Plasmas