Non-axisymmetric control coils and the so-called snowflake divertor configuration are two potential solutions proposed to solve two separate outstanding issues on the path towards self-sustained burning plasma operations, namely the transient energy bursts caused by edge localized modes and the steady state heat exhaust problem. In a reactor, these two proposed solutions would have to operate simultaneously and it is, therefore, important to investigate their compatibility and to identify possible conflicts that could prevent them from operating simultaneously. In this work, single- and two-fluid resistive magnetohydrodynamic calculations are used to investigate the effect of externally applied magnetic perturbations on the snowflake divertor configuration. The calculations are based on simulated NSTX-U plasmas and the results show that additional and longer magnetic lobes are created in the null-point region of the snowflake configuration, compared to those in the conventional single-null. The intersection of these longer and additional lobes with the divertor plates are expected to cause more striations in the particle and heat flux target profiles. In addition, the results indicate that the size of the magnetic lobes, in both single-null and snowflake configurations, are more sensitive to resonant magnetic perturbations than to non-resonant magnetic perturbations. The results also suggest that lower values of current in non-axisymmetric control coils would be required to suppress edge localized modes in plasmas with the snowflake configuration.
The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has undergone a major upgrade, and the NSTX Upgrade (NSTX-U) Project was completed in the summer of 2015. NSTX-U first plasma was subsequently achieved, diagnostic and control systems have been commissioned, H-Mode accessed, magnetic error fields identified and mitigated, and the first physics research campaign carried out. During 10 run weeks of operation, NSTX-U surpassed NSTX-record pulse-durations and toroidal fields, and high-performance ~1MA H-mode plasmas comparable to the best of NSTX have been sustained near and slightly above the n=1 no-wall stability limit and with H-mode confinement multiplier H98y2 above 1. Transport and turbulence studies in L-mode plasmas have identified the coexistence of at least two ion-gyro-scale turbulent micro-instabilities near the same radial location but propagating in opposite (i.e. ion and electron diamagnetic) directions. These modes have the characteristics of ion-temperature gradient and micro-tearing modes, respectively, and the role of these modes in contributing to thermal transport is under active investigation. The new second more tangential neutral beam injection was observed to significantly modify the stability of two types of Alfven Eigenmodes. Improvements in offline disruption forecasting were made in the areas of identification of rotating MHD modes and other macroscopic instabilities using the Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting (DECAF) code. Lastly, the Materials Analysis and Particle Probe (MAPP) was utilized on NSTX-U for the first time and enabled assessments of the correlation between boronized wall conditions and plasma performance. These and other highlights from the first run campaign of NSTX-U are described.
Skinner, C.H.; Bedoya, F.; Scotti, F.; Allain, J.P.; Blanchard, W.; Cai, D.; Jaworski, M.; Koel, B.E.
Boronization has been effective in reducing plasma impurities and enabling access to higher density, higher confinement plasmas in many magnetic fusion devices. The National Spherical Torus eXperiment, NSTX, has recently undergone a major upgrade to NSTX-U in order to develop the physics basis for a ST-based Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF) with capability for double the toroidal field, plasma current, and NBI heating power and increased pulse duration from 1–1.5 s to 5–8 s. A new deuterated tri-methyl boron conditioning system was implemented together with a novel surface analysis diagnostic. We report on the spatial distribution of the boron deposition versus discharge pressure, gas injection and electrode location. The oxygen concentration of the plasma facing surface was measured by in-vacuo XPS and increased both with plasma exposure and with exposure to trace residual gases. This increase correlated with the rise of oxygen emission from the plasma.
This paper examines a method for real-time control of non-inductively sustained scenarios in NSTX-U by using TRANSP,
a time-dependent integrated modeling code for prediction and interpretive analysis of tokamak experimental data, as a
simulator. The actuators considered for control in this work are the six neutral beam sources and the plasma boundary
shape. To understand the response of the plasma current, stored energy, and central safety factor to these actuators
and to enable systematic design of control algorithms, simulations were run in which the actuators were modulated and
a linearized dynamic response model was generated. A multi-variable model-based control scheme that accounts for the
coupling and slow dynamics of the system while mitigating the effect of actuator limitations was designed and
simulated. Simulations show that modest changes in the outer gap and heating power can improve the response time of
the system, reject perturbations, and track target values of the controlled values.
Yoo, Jongsoo; Na, Byungkeun; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Yamada, Maasaki; Ji, Hantao; Roytershteyn, V.; Argall, M. R.; Fox, W.; Chen, Li-Jen
Electron heating and the energy inventory during asymmetric reconnection are studied in the laboratory plasma with a density ratio of about 8 across the current sheet. Features of asymmetric reconnection such as the large density gradients near the low-density-side separatrices, asymmetric in-plane electric field, and bipolar out-of-plane magnetic field are observed. Unlike the symmetric case, electrons are also heated near the low-density-side separatrices. The measured parallel electric field may explain the observed electron heating. Although large fluctuations driven by lower-hybrid drift instabilities are also observed near the low-density-side separatrices, laboratory measurements and numerical simulations reported here suggest that they do not play a major role in electron energization. The average electron temperature increase in the exhaust region is proportional to the incoming magnetic energy per an electron/ion pair but exceeds scalings of the previous space observations. This discrepancy is explained by differences in the boundary condition and system size. The profile of electron energy gain from the electric field shows that there is additional electron energy gain associated with the electron diamagnetic current besides a large energy gain near the X-line. This additional energy gain increases electron enthalpy, not the electron temperature. Finally, a quantitative analysis of the energy inventory during asymmetric reconnection is conducted. Unlike the symmetric case where the ion energy gain is about twice more than the electron energy gain, electrons and ions obtain a similar amount of energy during asymmetric reconnection.
Kinetic modification of ideal stability theory from stabilizing resonances of mode-particle interaction has had success in explaining resistive wall mode (RWM) stability limits in tokamaks. With the goal of real-time stability forecasting, a reduced kinetic stability model has been implemented in the new Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting (DECAF) code, which has been written to analyze disruptions in tokamaks. The reduced model incorporates parameterized models for ideal limits on beta, a ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure, which are shown to be in good agreement with DCON code calculations. Increased beta between these ideal limits causes a shift in the unstable region of delta W_K space, where delta W_K is the change in potential energy due to kinetic effects that is solved for by the reduced model, such that it is possible for plasmas to be unstable at intermediate beta but stable at higher beta. Gaussian functions for delta W_K are defined as functions of E cross B frequency and collisionality, with parameters reflecting the experience of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). The reduced model was tested on a database of discharges from NSTX and experimentally stable and unstable discharges were separated noticeably on a stability map in E cross B frequency, collisionality space. The reduced model only failed to predict an unstable RWM in 15.6% of cases with an experimentally unstable RWM and performed well on predicting stability for experimentally stable discharges as well.
Recent advances in experimental techniques have allowed the simultaneous recordings of
populations of hundreds of neurons, fostering a debate about the nature of the collective
structure of population neural activity. Much of this debate has focused on the
empirical findings of a phase transition in the parameter space of maximum entropy
models describing the measured neural probability distributions, interpreting this phase
transition to indicate a critical tuning of the neural code. Here, we instead focus on the
possibility that this is a first-order phase transition which provides evidence that the
real neural population is in a `structured', collective state. We show that this collective
state is robust to changes in stimulus ensemble and adaptive state. We find that the
pattern of pairwise correlations between neurons has a strength that is well within the
strongly correlated regime and does not require fine tuning, suggesting that this state is
generic for populations of 100+ neurons. We find a clear correspondence between the
emergence of a phase transition, and the emergence of attractor-like structure in the
inferred energy landscape. A collective state in the neural population, in which neural
activity patterns naturally form clusters, provides a consistent interpretation for our
Thin film Faraday cup detectors can provide measurements of fast ion loss from magnetically confined fusion plasmas. These multilayer detectors can resolve the energy distribution of the lost ions in addition to giving the total loss rate. Prior detectors were assembled from discrete foils and insulating sheets. Outlined here is a design methodology for creating detectors using thin film deposition that are suited to particular scientific goals. The intention is to use detectors created by this method on JET and NSTX-U. The detectors will consist of alternating layers of aluminum and silicon dioxide, with layer thicknesses chosen to isolate energies of interest. Thin film deposition offers the advantage of relatively simple and more mechanically robust construction compared to other methods, as well as allowing precise control of film thickness. Furthermore, this depositional fabrication technique places the layers in intimate thermal contact, providing for three-dimensional conduction and dissipation of the ion-produced heating in the layers, rather than the essentially two-dimensional heat conduction in the discrete foil stack implementation.
A scintillator type fast ion loss detector measures the gyroradius and pitch angle distribution of superthermal ions escaping from a magnetically confined fusion plasma at a single location. Described here is a technique for optimizing the angular orientation of such a detector in an axisymmetric tokamak geometry in order to intercept losses over a useful and interesting ranges of pitch angle. The method consists of evaluating the detector acceptance as a function of the fast ion constants of motion, i.e. energy, canonical toroidal momentum, and magnetic moment. The detector acceptance can then be plotted in a plane of constant energy and compared with the relevant orbit class boundaries and fast ion source distributions. Knowledge of expected or interesting mechanisms of loss can further guide selection of the detector orientation. The example of a fast ion loss detector for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) is considered.
Measuring free-surface, liquid-metal flow velocity is challenging to do in a reliable and accurate manner. This paper presents a non-invasive, easily-calibrated method of measuring the surface velocities of open-channel liquid-metal flows using an IR camera. Unlike other spatially-limited methods, this IR camera particle tracking technique provides full field-of-view data that can be used to better understand open-channel flows and determine surface boundary conditions. This method could be implemented and automated for a wide range of liquid-metal experiments, even if they operate at high-temperatures or within strong magnetic fields.