A large-volume flux closure during transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) in NSTX-U
is demonstrated through resistive magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations. Several
major improvements, including the improved positioning of the divertor poloidal field coils, are projected to improve the CHI start-up phase in NSTX-U. Simulations in the NSTX-U configuration with constant in time coil currents show that with strong flux shaping the injected open field lines (injector flux) rapidly reconnect and form large volume of closed flux surfaces. This is achieved by driving parallel current in the injector flux coil and oppositely directed currents in the flux shaping coils to form a narrow injector flux footprint and push the injector flux into the vessel. As the helicity and plasma are injected into the device, the oppositely directed field lines in the injector region are forced to reconnect through a local Sweet–Parker type reconnection, or to spontaneously reconnect when the elongated current sheet becomes MHD unstable to form plasmoids. In these simulations for the first time, it is found that the closed flux is over 70% of the initial injector flux used to initiate the discharge. These results could work well for the application of transient CHI in devices that employ super conducting coils to generate and sustain the plasma equilibrium.
Coury, M.; Guttenfelder, W.; Mikkelsen, D.; Canik, J.; Canal, G.; Diallo, A.; Kaye, S.; Kramer, G.; Maingi, R.
Linear (local) gyrokinetic predictions of edge microinstabilities in highly shaped, lithiated and non-lihiated NSTX discharges are reported using the gyrokinetic code GS2. Microtearing modes dominate the non-lithiated pedestal top. The stabilization of these modes at the lithiated pedestal top enables the electron temperature pedestal to extend further inwards, as observed experimentally. Kinetic ballooning modes are found to be unstable mainly at the mid-pedestal of both types of discharges, with unstable trapped electron modes nearer the separatrix region. At electron wavelengths, ETG modes are found to be unstable from mid-pedestal outwards for eta(e,exp)~2.2, with higher growth rates for the lithiated discharge. Near the separatrix, the critical temperature gradient for driving ETG modes is reduced in the presence of lithium, reflecting the reduction of the lithiated density gradients observed experimentally. A preliminary linear study in the edge of non-lithiated discharges shows that the equilibrium shaping alters the electrostatic modes stability, found more unstable at high plasma shaping.
NSTX-U research will offer new insight by studying gas assimilation efficiencies for MGI injection from different poloidal locations using identical gas injection systems. In support of this activity, an electromagnetic MGI valve has been built and tested. The valve operates by repelling two conductive disks due to eddy currents induced on them by a rapidly changing magnetic field created by a pancake disk solenoid positioned beneath the circular disk attached to a piston. The current is driven in opposite directions in the two solenoids, which creates a cancelling torque when the valve is operated in an ambient magnetic field, as would be required in a tokamak installation. The valve does not use ferromagnetic materials. Results from the operation of the valve, including tests conducted in 1 T external magnetic fields, are described. The pressure rise in the test chamber is measured directly using a fast time response baratron gauge. At a plenum pressure of just 1.38 MPa (~200 psig), the valve injects 27 Pa.m^3 (~200 Torr.L) of nitrogen with a pressure rise time of 3 ms.
Observations on the National Spherical Torus eXperiment (NSTX) indicate
that externally applied non-axisymmetric magnetic perturbations (MP) can
reduce the amplitude of Toroidal Alfven Eigenmodes (TAE) and Global Alfven
Eigenmodes (GAE) in response to pulsed n=3 non-resonant fields. From
full-orbit following Monte Carlo simulations with the 1- and 2-fluid
resistive MHD plasma response to the magnetic perturbation included,
it was found that in response to MP pulses the fast-ion losses increased
and the fast-ion drive for the GAEs was reduced. The MP did not affect
the fast-ion drive for the TAEs significantly but the Alfven continuum
at the plasma edge was found to be altered due to the toroidal symmetry
breaking which leads to coupling of different toroidal harmonics. The
TAE gap was reduced at the edge creating enhanced continuum damping of
the global TAEs, which is consistent with the observations. The results
suggest that optimized non-axisymmetric MP might be exploited to control
and mitigate Alfven instabilities by tailoring the fast-ion distribution
function and/or continuum structure.
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.
A quasi-coherent mode with frequency f = 40 kHz is observed in Ohmic plasmas in NSTX with the gas puff imaging diagnostic (GPI). This mode is located predominantly just inside the separatrix, with a maximum fluctuation amplitude similar to that of the broadband turbulence in the same frequency range. The quasi-coherent mode has a poloidal wavelength 16 cm and a poloidal velocity 49 km/s in the electron diamagnetic direction, which are similar to the characteristics expected from a linear drift-wave like mode in the edge.
In one popular description of the L-H transition, energy transfer to the mean flows directly depletes turbulence fluctuation energy, resulting in suppression of the turbulence and a corresponding transport bifurcation. However, electron parallel force balance couples nonzonal velocity fluctuations with electron pressure fluctuations on rapid timescales, comparable with the electron transit time. For this reason, energy in the nonzonal velocity stays in a fairly fixed ratio to the free energy in electron density fluctuations, at least for frequency scales much slower than electron transit. In order for direct depletion of the energy in turbulent fluctuations to cause the L-H transition, energy transfer via Reynolds stress must therefore drain enough energy to significantly reduce the sum of the free energy in nonzonal velocities and electron pressure fluctuations. At low k, the electron thermal free energy is much larger than the energy in nonzonal velocities, posing a stark challenge for this model of the L-H transition.
Carlsson, J.; Wilson, J.R.; Hosea, J.; Greenough, N.; Perkins, R.
Third-order spectral analysis, in particular the auto bicoherence, was applied to probe signals from high-harmonic fast-wave heating experiments in the National Spherical Torus Experiment. Strong evidence was found for parametric decay of the 30 MHz radio-frequency (RF) pump wave, with a low-frequency daughter wave at 2.7 MHz, the local majority-ion cyclotron frequency. The primary decay modes have auto bicoherence values around 0.85, very close to the theoretical value of one, which corresponds to total phase coherence with the pump wave. The threshold RF pump power for onset of parametric decay was found to be between 200 kW and 400 kW.
Podesta, M.; M. Gorelenkova; E.D. Fredrickson; N.N. Gorelenkov
Integrated simulations of tokamak discharges typically rely on classical physics to model energetic particle (EP) dynamics. However, there are numerous cases in which energetic particles can suffer additional transport that is not classical in nature. Examples include transport by applied 3D magnetic perturbations and, more notably, by plasma instabilities. Focusing on the effects of instabilities, ad-hoc models can empirically reproduce increased transport, but the choice of transport coefficients is usually somehow arbitrary. New approaches based on physics-based reduced models are being developed to address those issues in a simplified way, while retaining a more correct treatment of resonant wave-particle interactions. The kick model implemented in the tokamak transport code TRANSP is an example of such reduced models. It includes modifications of the EP distribution by instabilities in real and velocity space, retaining correlations between transport in energy and space typical of resonant EP transport. The relevance of EP phase space modifications by instabilities is first discussed in terms of predicted fast ion distribution. Results are compared with those from a simple, ad-hoc diffusive model. It is then shown that the phase-space resolved model can also provide additional insight into important issues such as internal consistency of the simulations and mode stability through the analysis of the power exchanged between energetic particles and the instabilities.
Guttenfelder W.; S.M. Kaye; Y. Ren; W. Solomon; R.E. Bell; J. Candy; S.P. Gerhardt; B.P. LeBlanc; H. Yuh
This paper presents quasi-linear gyrokinetic predictions of the Coriolis momentum pinch for low aspect-ratio NSTX H-modes where previous experimental measurements were focused. Local, linear calculations predict that in the region of interest (just outside the mid-radius) of these relatively high-beta plasmas, profiles are most unstable to microtearing modes that are only effective in transporting electron energy. However, sub-dominant electromagnetic and electrostatic ballooning modes are also unstable, which are effective at transporting energy, particles and momentum. The quasi-linear prediction of transport from these weaker ballooning modes, assuming they contribute transport in addition to that from microtearing modes in a nonlinear turbulent state, leads to a very small or outward convection of momentum, inconsistent with the experimentally measured inward pinch, and opposite to predictions in conventional aspect ratio tokamaks. Additional predictions of a low beta L-mode plasma, unstable to more traditional electrostatic ion temperature gradient-trapped electron mode instability, show that the Coriolis pinch is inward but remains relatively weak and insensitive to many parameter variations. The weak or outward pinch predicted in NSTX plasmas appears to be at least partially correlated to changes in the parallel mode structure that occur at finite beta and low aspect ratio, as discussed in previous theories. The only conditions identified where a stronger inward pinch is predicted occur either in the purely electrostatic limit or if the aspect ratio is increased. As the Coriolis pinch cannot explain the measured momentum pinch, additional theoretical momentum transport mechanisms are discussed that may be potentially important.
A radiative divertor technique is planned for the NSTX-U tokamak to prevent excessive erosion and thermal damage of divertor plasma-facing components in H-mode plasma discharges with auxiliary heating up to 12 MW.
In the radiative (partially detached) divertor, extrinsically seeded deuterium or impurity gases are used to increase
plasma volumetric power and momentum losses.
A real-time feedback control of the gas seeding rate is planned for discharges of up to 5 s duration.
The outer divertor leg plasma electron temperature Te estimated spectroscopically in real time will be used as a control parameter.
A vacuum ultraviolet spectrometer McPherson Model 251 with a fast charged-coupled device detector is developed for temperature monitoring between 5 and 30 eV, based on the delta n=0;1 line intensity ratios of carbon, nitrogen or neon ions lines in the spectral range 300 to 1600 A.
A collisional-radiative model-based line intensity ratio will be used for relative calibration.
A real-time Te-dependent signal within a characteristic divertor detachment equilibration time of ~ 10-15 ms is expected.
Heating magnetically confined plasmas using waves in the ion-cyclotron range of frequencies typically requires coupling these waves over a steep density gradient. This process has produced an unexpected and deleterious phenomenon on the National Spherical Torus eXperiment (NSTX): a prompt loss of wave power along magnetic field lines in front of the antenna to the divertor. Understanding this loss may be key to achieving effective heating and expanding the operational space of NSTX-Upgrade. Here, we propose that a new type of mode, which conducts a significant fraction of the total wave power in the low-density peripheral plasma, is driving these losses. We demonstrate the existence of such modes, which are distinct from surface modes and coaxial modes, in a cylindrical cold-plasma model when a half wavelength structure fits into the region outside the core plasma. The latter condition generalizes the previous hypothesis regarding the occurence of the edge losses and may explain why full-wave simulations predict these losses in some cases but not others. If valid, this condition implies that outer gap control is a potential strategy for mitigating the losses in NSTX-Upgrade in addition to raising the magnetic field or influencing the edge density.
White, R; Gorelenkov, N.; Gorelenkova, M.; Podesta, M.; Ethier, S.; Chen, Y.
Growth of Alfven modes driven unstable by a
distribution of high energy particles up to saturation
is investigated with a guiding
center code, using numerical eigenfunctions produced by linear theory and
a numerical high energy particle distribution,
in order to make detailed comparison with experiment and with models for
saturation amplitudes and the modification of beam profiles. Two
innovations are introduced. First, a very noise free means of obtaining
the mode-particle energy and momentum transfer is introduced, and
secondly, a spline representation of the actual beam particle
distribution is used.
Turbulence and plasma parameter data from the National Spherical Torus Experiment NSTX [M. Ono, S.M. Kaye, Y.-K.M. Peng, G. Barnes et al., Nucl. Fusion 40, 557 (2000)] is examined and interpreted based on various theoretical estimates. In particular, quantities of interest for assessing the role of turbulent transport on the midplane scrape-off layer heat flux width are assessed. Because most turbulence quantities exhibit large scatter and little scaling within a given operation mode, this paper focuses on length and time scales and dimensionless parameters between operational modes including Ohmic, low (L), and high (H) modes using a large NSTX edge turbulence database [S.J. Zweben, W.M. Davis, S.M. Kaye, J.R. Myra et al., Nucl. Fusion 55, 093035 (2015)]. These are compared with theoretical estimates for drift and interchange rates, profile modification saturation levels, a resistive ballooning condition, and dimensionless parameters characterizing L and high H mode conditions. It is argued that the underlying instability physics governing edge turbulence in different operational modes is in fact similar, and is consistent with curvature-driven drift ballooning. Saturation physics, however, is dependent on the operational mode. Five dimensionless parameters for drift-interchange turbulence are obtained and employed to assess the important of turbulence in setting the scrape-off layer heat flux width lambda_q and its scaling. An explicit proportionality of the width lambda_q to safety factor and major radius (qR) is obtained under these conditions. Quantitative estimates and reduced model numerical simulations suggest that the turbulence mechanism is not negligible in determining lambda_q in NSTX, at least for high plasma current discharges.
Weller, M.E.; Beiersdorfer, P.; Soukhanovskii, V.; Magee, E.W.; Scotti, F.
Three extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrometers have been mounted on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U). All three are flat-field grazing-incidence spectrometers and are dubbed X-ray and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (8 ñ 70 ≈), Long-Wavelength Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (190 ñ 440 ≈), and Metal Monitor and Lithium Spectrometer Assembly (MonaLisa, 50 ñ 220 ≈). XEUS and LoWEUS were previously implemented on NSTX to monitor impurities from low- to high-Z sources and to study impurity transport while MonaLisa is new and provides the system increased spectral coverage. The spectrometers will also be a critical diagnostic on the planned laser blow-off (LBO) system for NSTX-U, which will be used for impurity edge and core ion transport studies, edge-transport code development, and benchmarking atomic physics codes.
Helium line-ratios for electron temperature (Te) and density (ne) plasma diagnostic
in the Scrape-Off-Layer (SOL) and Edge regions of tokamaks are widely used.
Due to their intensities and proximity of wavelengths, the singlet 667.8 and 728.1
nm, and triplet 706.5 nm visible lines have been typically preferred. Time-
dependency of the triplet line (706.5 nm) has been previously analyzed in detail by
including transient effects on line-ratios during gas-puff diagnostic applications. In this work, several line-ratio combinations within each of the two spin systems are
analyzed with the purpose of eliminating transient effects to extend the application
of this powerful diagnostic to high temporal resolution characterization of
plasmas. The analysis is done using synthetic emission modeling and diagnostic
for low electron density NSTX SOL plasma conditions for several visible lines.
This analysis employs both quasi-static equilibrium and time-dependent models in
order to evaluate transient effects of the atomic population levels that may affect
the derived electron temperatures and densities as a helium gas-puff penetrates the
plasma. Ratios between the most intense lines are usually preferred due to their
higher signal to noise ratio. The analysis of a wider range of spectral lines will
help to extend this powerful diagnostic to experiments where the wavelength
range of the measured spectra may be constrained either by limitations of the
spectrometer, or by other conflicting lines from different ions.
We implement unsupervised machine learning techniques to identify characteristic evolution patterns and associated parameter regimes in edge localized mode (ELM) events observed on the National Spherical Torus Experiment. Multi-channel, localized measurements spanning the pedestal region capture the complex evolution patterns of ELM events on Alfven timescales. Some ELM events are active for less than 100~microsec, but others persist for up to 1~ms. Also, some ELM events exhibit a single dominant perturbation, but others are oscillatory. Clustering calculations with time-series similarity metrics indicate the ELM database contains at least two and possibly three groups of ELMs with similar evolution patterns. The identified ELM groups trigger similar stored energy loss, but the groups occupy distinct parameter regimes for ELM-relevant quantities like plasma current, triangularity, and pedestal height. Notably, the pedestal electron pressure gradient is not an effective parameter for distinguishing the ELM groups, but the ELM groups segregate in terms of electron density gradient and electron temperature gradient. The ELM evolution patterns and corresponding parameter regimes can shape the formulation or validation of nonlinear ELM models. Finally, the techniques and results demonstrate an application of unsupervised machine learning at a data-rich fusion facility.
Stotler, D.; F. Scotti; R.E. Bell; A. Diallo; B.P. LeBlanc; M. Podesta; A.L. Roquemore; P.W. Ross
Atomic and molecular density data in the outer midplane of NSTX [Ono et al., Nucl. Fusion 40, 557 (2000)] are inferred from tangential camera data via a forward modeling procedure using the DEGAS 2 Monte Carlo neutral transport code. The observed Balmer-b light emission data from 17 shots during the 2010 NSTX campaign display no obvious trends with discharge parameters such as the divertor Balmer-a emission level or edge deuterium ion density. Simulations of 12 time slices in 7 of these discharges produce molecular densities near the vacuum vessel wall of 2–8 10^17 m3 and atomic densities ranging from 1 to 7 10^16 m3; neither has a clear correlation with other parameters. Validation of the technique, begun in an earlier publication, is continued with an assessment of the sensitivity of the simulated camera image and neutral densities to uncertainties in the data input to the model. The simulated camera image is sensitive to the plasma profiles and virtually nothing else. The neutral densities at the vessel wall depend most strongly on the spatial distribution of the source; simulations with a localized neutral source yield densities within a factor of two of the baseline, uniform source, case. The uncertainties in the neutral densities associated with other model inputs and assumptions are 50%.