Abstract. Recent results obtained with high harmonic fast wave (HHFW) heating and current drive (CD) on NSTX strongly support the hypothesis that the onset of perpendicular fast wave propagation right at or very near the launcher is a primary cause for a reduction in core heating efficiency at long wavelengths that is also observed in ICRF heating experiments in numerous tokamaks. A dramatic increase in core heating efficiency was first achieved in NSTX L-mode helium majority plasmas when the onset for perpendicular wave propagation was moved away from the antenna and nearby vessel structures. Efficient core heating in deuterium majority L mode and H mode discharges, in which the edge density is typically higher than in comparable helium majority plasmas, was then accomplished by reducing the edge density in front of the launcher with lithium conditioning and avoiding operational points prone to instabilities. These results indicate that careful tailoring of the edge density profiles in ITER should be considered to limit rf power losses to the antenna and plasma facing materials. Finally, in plasmas with reduced rf power losses in the edge regions, the first direct measurements of high harmonic fast wave current drive were obtained with the motional Stark effect (MSE) diagnostic. The location and radial dependence of HHFW CD measured by MSE are in reasonable agreement with predictions from both full wave and ray tracing simulations.
The mission of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) is the demonstration of the physics basis required to extrapolate to the next steps for the spherical torus (ST), such as a plasma facing component test facility (NHTX) or an ST based component test facility (ST-CTF), and to support ITER. Key issues for the ST are transport, and steady state high β operation. To better understand electron transport, a new high-k scattering diagnostic was used extensively to investigate electron gyro-scale fluctuations with varying electron temperature gradient scale length. Results from n = 3 braking studies are consistent with the flow shear dependence of ion transport. New results from electron Bernstein wave emission measurements from plasmas with lithium wall coating applied indicate transmission efficiencies near 70% in H-mode as a result of reduced collisionality. Improved coupling of high harmonic fast-waves has been achieved by reducing the edge density relative to the critical density for surface wave coupling. In order to achieve high bootstrap current fraction, future ST designs envision running at very high elongation. Plasmas have been maintained on NSTX at very low internal inductance l i ∼ 0.4 with strong shaping (κ ∼ 2.7, δ ∼ 0.8) with β N approaching the with-wall β-limit for several energy confinement times. By operating at lower collisionality in this regime, NSTX has achieved record non-inductive current drive fraction f NI ∼ 71%. Instabilities driven by super-Alfvénic ions will be an important issue for all burning plasmas, including ITER. Fast ions from NBI on NSTX are super-Alfvénic. Linear toroidal Alfvén eigenmode thresholds and appreciable fast ion loss during multi-mode bursts are measured and these results are compared with theory. The impact of n > 1 error fields on stability is an important result for ITER. Resistive wall mode/resonant field amplification feedback combined with n = 3 error field control was used on NSTX to maintain plasma rotation with β above the no-wall limit. Other highlights are results of lithium coating experiments, momentum confinement studies, scrape-off layer width scaling, demonstration of divertor heat load mitigation in strongly shaped plasmas and coupling of coaxial helicity injection plasmas to ohmic heating ramp-up. These results advance the ST towards next step fusion energy devices such as NHTX and ST-CTF.
Spontaneous improvements of plasma confinement during auxiliary heating have been observed in many tokamaks when the q profile has been modified from its normal resistive equilibrium so that q > 1 and the magnetic shear is reduced or reversed in a region near the magnetic axis. The effects on the overall plasma confinement result from the formation in the plasma interior of transport barriers, regions where the thermal and particle transport coefficients are substantially reduced.These internal barriers are sometimes tied to unique magnetic surfaces, such as the surface where the shear reverses. The reduction in transport appears to result from the suppression of turbulence by sheared plasma flow, which has now been measured in TFTR. Extensions of the theory for turbulence suppression show that this underlying paradigm may also explain other regimes of improved core confinement. The excitement generated by these discoveries must be tempered by the realization that transport and stability to pressure-driven MHD instabilities are intimately linked in these plasmas through the bootstrap current and the effect of the resulting current profile on the transport. Thus the development of control tools and strategies is essential if these improved regimes of confinement are to be exploited to improve the prospects for fusion energy production.
Off-axis sawteeth are often observed in reversed magnetic shear plasmas when the minimum safety factor q is near or below 2. Fluctuations with m/n = 2/1 (m and n are the poloidal and toroidal mode numbers) appear before and after the crashes. Detailed comparison has been made between the measured Te profile evolution during the crash and a nonlinear numerical magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulation. The good agreement between the observation and simulation indicates that the off-axis sawteeth are due to a dou ble-tearing magnetic reconnection process.
The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has made considerable progress in advancing the scientific understanding of high performance long-pulse plasmas needed for future spherical torus (ST) devices and ITER. Plasma durations up to 1.6 s (five current redistribution times) have been achieved at plasma currents of 0.7 MA with non-inductive current fractions above 65% while simultaneously achieving β T and β N values of 17% and 5.7 (%m T MA −1 ), respectively. A newly available motional Stark effect diagnostic has enabled validation of currentdrive sources and improved the understanding of NSTX 'hybrid'-like scenarios. In MHD research, ex-vessel radial field coils have been utilized to infer and correct intrinsic EFs, provide rotation control and actively stabilize the n = 1 resistive wall mode at ITER-relevant low plasma rotation values. In transport and turbulence research, the low aspect ratio and a wide range of achievable β in the NSTX provide unique data for confinement scaling studies, and a new microwave scattering diagnostic is being used to investigate turbulent density fluctuations with wavenumbers extending from ion to electron gyro-scales. In energetic particle research, cyclic neutron rate drops have been associated with the destabilization of multiple large toroidal Alfven eigenmodes (TAEs) analogous to the 'sea-of-TAE' modes predicted for ITER, and three-wave coupling processes have been observed for the first time. In boundary physics research, advanced shape control has enabled studies of the role of magnetic balance in H-mode access and edge localized mode stability. Peak divertor heat flux has been reduced by a factor of 5 using an H-mode-compatible radiative divertor, and lithium conditioning has demonstrated particle pumping and results in improved thermal confinement. Finally, non-solenoidal plasma start-up experiments have achieved plasma currents of 160 kA on closed magnetic flux surfaces utilizing coaxial helicity injection.
Experiments with plasmas having nearly equal concentrations of deuterium and tritium have been carried out on TFTR. To date (September 1995), the maximum fusion power has been 10.7 MW, using 39.5 MW of neutral beam heating, in a supershot discharge and 6.7 MW in a high /3, discharge following a current ramp-down. The fusion power density in the core of the plasma has reached 2.8 MW/m3, exceeding that expected in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The energy confinement time 7E is observed to increase in DT, relative to D plasmas, by 20% and the n,(O).T,(O)*7, product by 55%. The improvement in thermal confinement is caused primarily by a decrease in ion heat conductivity in both supershot and limiter H mode discharges. Extensive lithium pellet injection increased the confinement time to 0.27 s and enabled higher current operation in both supershot and high 0, discharges. First measurements of the confined alpha particles have been performed and found to be in good agreement with TRANSP simulations
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite Inc. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers