F. M. Laggner, A. Diallo, B. P. LeBlanc, R. Rozenblat, G. Tchilinguirian, E.Kolemen, the NSTX-U team
A detailed description of a prototype setup for real-time (rt) Thomson scattering (TS) analysis is presented and implemented in the multi-point Thomson scattering (MPTS) diagnostic system at the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade(NSTX-U). The data acquisition hardware was upgraded with rt capable electronics (rt-analog digital converters (ADCs) and a rt server) that allow for fast digitization of the laser pulse signal of eight radial MPTS channels. In addition, a new TS spectrum analysis software for a rapid calculation of electron temperature (Te) and electron density (ne) was developed. Testing of the rt hardware and data analysis soft-ware was successfully completed and benchmarked against the standard, post-shot evaluation. Timing tests were performed showing that the end-to-end processing time was reproducibly below 17 ms for the duration of at least 5 s, meeting a 60 Hz deadline by the laser pulse repetition rate over the length of a NSTX-U discharge. The presented rt framework is designed to be scalable in system size, i.e. incorporation of additional radial channels by solely adding additional rt capable hardware. Furthermore, it is scalable in its operation duration and was continuously run for up to 30 min, making it an attractive solution for machines with long discharge duration such as advanced, non-inductive tokamaks or stellarators.
Experiments and predictions of surface wave damping in liquid metal due to a surface aligned magnetic field and externally regulated j × B force are presented. Fast-flowing, liquid-metal plasma facing components (LM-PFCs) are a proposed alternative to solid PFCs that are unable to handle the high heat flux, thermal stresses, and radiation damage in a tokamak. The significant technical challenges associated with LM-PFCs compared to solid PFCs are justified by greater heat flux management, self-healing properties, and reduced particle recycling. However, undesirable engineering challenges such as evaporation and splashing of the liquid metal introduce excessive impurities into the plasma and degrade plasma performance. Evaporation may be avoided through high-speed flow that limits temperature rise of the liquid metal by reducing heat flux exposure time, but as flow speed increases the surface may become more turbulent and prone to splashing and uneven surfaces. Wave damping is one mechanism that reduces surface disturbance and thus the chances of liquid metal impurity introduction into the plasma. Experiments on the Liquid Metal eXperiment Upgrade (LMX-U) examined damping under the influence of transverse magnetic fields and vertically directed Lorentz force.
Explosive volcanic eruptions have large climate impacts, and can serve as observable tests of the climatic response to radiative forcing. Using a high resolution climate model, we contrast the climate responses to Pinatubo, with symmetric forcing, and those to Santa Maria and Agung, which had meridionally asymmetric forcing. Although Pinatubo had larger global-mean forcing, asymmetric forcing strongly shifts the latitude of tropical rainfall features, leading to larger local precipitation/TC changes. For example, North Atlantic TC activity over is enhanced/reduced by SH-forcing (Agung)/NH-forcing (Santa Maria), but changes little in response to the Pinatubo forcing. Moreover, the transient climate sensitivity estimated from the response to Santa Maria is 20% larger than that from Pinatubo or Agung. This spread in climatic impacts of volcanoes needs to be considered when evaluating the role of volcanoes in global and regional climate, and serves to contextualize the well-observed response to Pinatubo.
Employment of non-inductive plasma start-up techniques would considerably simplify the design of a spherical tokamak fusion reactor. Transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) is a promising method, expected to scale favorably to next-step reactors. However, the implications of reactor-relevant parameters on the initial breakdown phase for CHI have not yet been considered. Here, we evaluate CHI breakdown in reactor-like configurations using an extension of the Townsend avalanche theory. We find that a CHI electrode concept in which the outer vessel wall is biased to achieve breakdown, while previously successful on NSTX and HIT-II, may exhibit a severe weakness when scaled up to a reactor. On the other hand, concepts which employ localized biasing electrodes such as those used in QUEST would avoid this issue. Assuming that breakdown can be successfully attained, we then apply scaling relationships to predict plasma parameters attainable in the transient CHI discharge. Assuming the use of 1 Wb of injector flux, we find that plasma currents of 1 MA should be achievable. Furthermore, these plasmas are expected to Ohmically self-heat with more than 1 MW of power as they decay, facilitating efficient hand-off to steady-state heating sources. These optimistic scalings are supported by TSC simulations.
We discuss a role of the electron inertial effect on linearly polarized electromagnetic ion
cyclotron (EMIC) waves at Earth. The linearly polarized EMIC waves have been previously
suggested to be generated via mode conversion from the fast compressional wave at the ion-ion
hybrid (IIH) resonance. When the electron inertial effects are neglected, the wave normal angle
of the mode-converted IIH waves is 90 degrees because the wavevector perpendicular to the
magnetic field becomes infinite at the IIH resonance. When the electron inertial effect is
considered, the mode-converted IIH waves can propagate across the magnetic field lines and the
wavelength perpendicular to the magnetic field approaches the electron inertial length scale near
the Buchsbaum resonance. These waves are referred to as electron inertial waves. Due to the
electron inertial effect, the perpendicular wavenumber to the ambient magnetic field near the
IIH resonance remains finite and the wave normal angle is less than 90 degrees. The wave normal
angle where the maximum absorption occurs in a dipole magnetic field is 30-80 degrees, which
is consistent with the observed values near the magnetic equator. Therefore, the numerical
results suggest that the linearly polarized EMIC wave generated via mode conversion near the
IIH resonance can be detected in between the Buchsbaum and the IIH resonance frequencies,
and these waves can have normal angle less than 90 degrees.
This work continues a series of papers where we propose an algorithm for quasioptical modeling of electromagnetic beams with and without mode conversion. The general theory was reported in the first paper of this series, where a parabolic partial differential equation was derived for the field envelope that may contain one or multiple modes with close group velocities. Here, we present a corresponding code PARADE (PAraxial RAy DEscription) and its test applications to single-mode beams in vacuum and also in inhomogeneous magnetized plasma. The numerical results are compared, respectively, with analytic formulas from Gaussian-beam optics and also with cold-plasma ray tracing. Quasioptical simulations of mode-converting beams are reported in the next, third paper of this series.
This work continues a series of papers where we propose an algorithm for quasioptical modeling of electromagnetic beams with and without mode conversion. The general theory was reported in the first paper of this series, where a parabolic partial differential equation was derived for the field envelope that may contain one or multiple modes with close group velocities. In the second paper, we presented a corresponding code PARADE (PAraxial RAy DEscription) and its test applications to single-mode beams. Here, we report quasioptical simulations of mode-converting beams for the first time. We also demonstrate that PARADE can model splitting of two-mode beams. The numerical results produced by PARADE show good agreement with those of one-dimensional full-wave simulations and also with conventional ray tracing (to the extent that one-dimensional and ray-tracing simulations are applicable).
Since 1850 the concentration of atmospheric methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, has more than doubled. Recent studies suggest that emission inventories may be missing sources and underestimating emissions. To investigate whether offshore oil and gas platforms leak CH4 during normal operation, we measured CH4 mole fractions around eight oil and gas production platforms in the North Sea which were neither flaring gas nor off-loading oil. We use the measurements from summer 2017, along with meteorological data, in a Gaussian plume model to estimate CH4 emissions from each platform. We find CH4 mole fractions of between 11 and 370 ppb above background concentrations downwind of the platforms measured, corresponding to a median CH4 emission of 6.8 g CH4 s-1 for each platform, with a range of 2.9 to 22.3 g CH4 s-1. When matched to production records, during our measurements individual platforms lost between 0.04% and 1.4% of gas produced with a median loss of 0.23%. When the measured platforms are considered collectively, (i.e. the sum of platforms’ emission fluxes weighted by the sum of the platforms’ production), we estimate the CH4 loss to be 0.19% of gas production. These estimates are substantially higher than the emissions most recently reported to the National Atmospheric Emission Inventory (NAEI) for total CH4 loss from United Kingdom platforms in the North Sea. The NAEI reports CH4 losses from the offshore oil and gas platforms we measured to be 0.13% of gas production, with most of their emissions coming from gas flaring and offshore oil loading, neither of which were taking place at the time of our measurements. All oil and gas platforms we observed were found to leak CH4 during normal operation and much of this leakage has not been included in UK emission inventories. Further research is required to accurately determine total CH4 leakage from all offshore oil and gas operations and to properly include the leakage in national and international emission inventories.
In this comment, we point out possible critical numerical flaws of recent particle simulation studies (Jiang et al 2016 Nucl. Fusion 56 126017, Peng et al 2018 Nucl. Fusion 58 026007) on the electrical gas breakdown in a simple one-dimensional periodic slab geometry. We show that their observations on the effects of the ambipolar electric fields during the breakdown, such as the sudden reversal of the ion flow direction, could not be real physical phenomena but resulting from numerical artifacts violating the momentum conservation law. We show that an incomplete implementation of the direct-implicit scheme can cause the artificial electric fields and plasma transports resulting in fallacies in simulation results. We also discuss that their simple plasma model without considering poloidal magnetic fields seriously mislead the physical mechanism of the electrical gas breakdown because it cannot reflect important dominant plasma dynamics in the poloidal plane (Yoo et al 2018 Nat. Commun. 9 3523).
Spontaneous multi-keV electron generation in a low-RF-power axisymmetric mirror machine
X-ray emission shows the existence of multi-keV electrons in low-temperature, low-power, capacitively-coupled RF-heated magnetic-mirror plasmas that also contain a warm (300 eV) minority electron population. Though these warm electrons are initially passing particles, we suggest that collisionless scattering -- mu non-conservation in the static vacuum field -- is responsible for a minority of them to persist in the mirror cell for thousands of transits during which time a fraction are energized to a characteristic temperature of 3 keV, with some electrons reaching energies above 30 keV. A heuristic model of the heating by a Fermi-acceleration-like mechanism is presented, with mu non-conservation in the static vacuum field as an essential feature.