Myers, Clayton; Yamada, Masaaki; Ji, Hantao; Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Fox, William
The loss-of-equilibrium is a solar eruption mechanism whereby a sudden breakdown of the magnetohydrodynamic force balance in the Sun's corona ejects a massive burst of particles and energy into the heliosphere. Predicting a loss-of-equilibrium, which has more recently been formulated as the torus instability, relies on a detailed understanding of the various forces that hold the pre-eruption magnetic flux rope in equilibrium. Traditionally, idealized analytical force expressions are used to derive simplified eruption criteria that can be compared to solar observations and modeling. What is missing, however, is a validation that these idealized analytical force expressions can be applied to the line-tied, low-aspect-ratio conditions of the corona. In this paper, we address this shortcoming by using a laboratory experiment to study the forces that act on long-lived, arched, line-tied magnetic flux ropes. Three key force terms are evaluated over a wide range of experimental conditions: (1) the upward hoop force; (2) the downward strapping force; and (3) the downward toroidal field tension force. First, the laboratory force measurements show that, on average, the three aforementioned force terms cancel to produce a balanced line-tied equilibrium. This finding validates the laboratory force measurement techniques developed here, which were recently used to identify a dynamic toroidal field tension force that can prevent flux rope eruptions [Myers et al., Nature 528, 526 (2015)]. The verification of magnetic force balance also confirms the low-beta assumption that the plasma thermal pressure is negligible in these experiments. Next, the measured force terms are directly compared to their corresponding analytical expressions. While the measured and analytical forces are found to be well correlated, the low-aspect-ratio, line-tied conditions in the experiment are found to both reduce the measured hoop force and increase the measured tension force with respect to analytical expectations. These two co-directed effects combine to generate laboratory flux rope equilibria at lower altitudes than are predicted analytically. Such considerations are expected to modify the loss-of-equilibrium eruption criteria for analogous flux ropes in the solar corona.
Myers, Clayton; Yamada, Masaaki; Ji, Hantao; Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Fox, William
Solar eruptions are often driven by magnetohydrodynamic instabilities such as the torus and kink instabilities that act on line-tied magnetic flux ropes. Recent laboratory experiments designed to study these eruptive instabilities have demonstrated the key role of both dynamic (Myers et al 2015 Nature 528, 526) and quasi-static (Myers et al 2016 Phys. Plasmas, in press) magnetic tension forces in contributing to the equilibrium and stability of line-tied magnetic flux ropes. In this paper, we synthesize these laboratory results and explore the relationship between the dynamic and quasi-static tension forces. While the quasi-static tension force is found to contribute to the flux rope equilibrium in a number of regimes, the dynamic tension force is substantial mostly in the so-called failed torus regime where magnetic self-organization events prevent the flux rope from erupting.
Zweben SJ; Fredrickson ED; Myra JR; Podesta M; Scotti F
This paper describes a study of the cross-correlations between edge fluctuations as seen in the gas puff imaging (GPI) diagnostic and low frequency coherent magnetic fluctuations (MHD) in H-mode plasmas in NSTX. The main new result was that large blobs in the SOL were significantly correlated with MHD activity the 3-6 kHz range in 21 of the 223 shots examined. There were also many other shots in which fluctuations in the GPI signal level and its peak radius Rpeak were correlated with MHD activity, but without any significant correlation of the MHD with large blobs. The structure and motion of the MHD is compared with that of the correlated blobs, and some possible theoretical mechanisms for the MHD-blob correlation are discussed.
One aspect of the interaction between fast ions and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities is the fast ion transport. Coupled kink and tearing MHD instabilities have also been reported to cause fast ion transport. Recently, the ''kick" model has been developed to compute the evolution of the fast ion distribution from the neutral beam injection using instabilities as phase space resonance sources. The goal of this paper is to utilize the kick model to understand the physics of fast ion transport caused by the coupled kink and tearing modes. Soft X-ray diagnostics are used to identify the mode parameters in NSTX. The comparison of neutron rates measured and computed from time-dependent TRANSP simulation with the kick model shows the coupling of kink and tearing mode is important in determination of the fast ion transport. The numerical scan of the mode parameters shows that the relative phase of the kink and tearing modes and the overlapping of kink and tearing mode resonances in the phase space can affect the fast ion transport, suggesting that the synergy of the coupled modes may be causing the fast ion transpor
A compact and multi-view Solid State Neutral Particle Analyzer (SSNPA) diagnostic based on silicon photodiode arrays has been successfully tested on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U). The SSNPA diagnostic provides spatially, temporally, and pitch-angle resolved measurements of fast-ion distribution by detecting fast neutral flux resulting from charge exchange (CX) reactions. The system consists of three 16-channel subsystems: t-SSNPA viewing the plasma mid-radius and neutral beam (NB) line #2 tangentially, r-SSNPA viewing the plasma core and NB line #1 radially and p-SSNPA with no intersection with any NB lines. Due to the setup geometry, the active CX signals of t-SSNPA and r-SSNPA are mainly sensitive to passing and trapped particles respectively. In addition, both t-SSNPA and r-SSNPA utilize three vertically stacked arrays with different filter thickness to obtain coarse energy information. The experimental data show that all channels are operational. The signal to noise ratio is typically larger than 10 and the main noise is x-ray induced signal. The active and passive CX signals are clearly observed on t-SSNPA and r-SSNPA during NB modulation. The SSNPA data also indicate significant losses of passing particles during sawteeth, while trapped particles are weakly affected. Fluctuations up to 120 kHz, have been observed on SSNPA, and they are strongly correlated with magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) instabilities.
The growth of magnetic islands in NSTX is modeled successfully, with the consideration of passing fast ions. It is shown that a good quantitative agreement between simulation and experimental measurement can be achieved when the uncompensated cross-field current induced by passing fast ions is included in the island growth model. The fast ion parameters,
along with other equilibrium parameters, are obtained self-consistently using the TRANSP code with the assumptions of the ‘kick’ model (Podestà et al 2017 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 59 095008). The results show that fast ions can contribute to overcoming the stabilizing effect of polarization current for magnetic island growth.
Linear and nonlinear kinetic-MHD hybrid simulations have been carried out to investigate linear stability and nonlinear dynamics of beam-driven fishbone instability in spherical tokamak plasmas. Realistic NSTX parameters with finite toroidal rotation were used. The results show that the fishbone is driven by both trapped and passing particles. The instability drive of passing particles is comparable to that of trapped particles in the linear regime. The effects of rotation are destabilizing and a new region of instability appears at higher qmin (>1.5) values, qmin being the minimum of safety factor profile. In the nonlinear regime,
the mode saturates due to flattening of beam ion distribution, and this persists after initial saturation while mode frequency chirps down in such a way that the resonant trapped particles move out radially and keep in resonance with the mode. Correspondingly, the flattening region of beam ion distribution expands radially outward. A substantial fraction of initially non- resonant trapped particles become resonant around the time of mode saturation and keep in resonance with the mode as frequency chirps down. On the other hand, the fraction of resonant passing particles is significantly smaller than that of trapped particles. Our analysis shows that trapped particles provide the main drive to the mode in the nonlinear regime.
Particle distribution functions evolving under the Lorentz operator can be simulated with the Langevin equation for pitch angle scattering. This approach is frequently used in particle based Monte-Carlo simulations of plasma collisions, among others. However, most numerical treatments do not guarantee energy conservation, which may lead to unphysical artifacts such as numerical heating and spectra distortions. We present a novel structure-preserving numerical algorithm for the Langevin equation for pitch angle scattering. Similar to the well-known Boris algorithm, the proposed numerical scheme takes advantage of the structure-preserving properties of the Cayley transform when calculating the velocity-space rotations. The resulting algorithm is explicitly solvable, while preserving the norm of velocities down to machine precision. We demonstrate that the method has the same order of numerical convergence as the traditional stochastic Euler-Maruyama method.