Reflectometry measurements of compressional (CAE) and global (GAE) Alfvén eigenmodes are analyzed to obtain the amplitude and spatial structure of the density perturbations associated with the modes. A novel analysis technique developed for this purpose is presented. The analysis also naturally yields the amplitude and spatial structure of the density contour radial displacement, which is found to be 2–4 times larger than the value estimated directly from the reflectometer measurements using the much simpler ‘mirror approximation’. The modes were driven by beam ions in a high power (6 MW) neutral beam heated H-mode discharge (#141398) in the National Spherical Torus Experiment. The results of the analysis are used to assess the contribution of the modes to core energy transport and ion heating. The total displacement amplitude of the modes, which is shown to be larger than previously estimated (Crocker et al 2013 Nucl. Fusion 53 43017), is compared to the predicted threshold (Gorelenkov et al 2010 Nucl. Fusion 50 84012) for the anomalously high heat diffusion inferred from transport modeling in similar NSTX discharges. The results of the analysis also have strong implications for the energy transport via coupling of CAEs to kinetic Alfvén waves seen in simulations with the Hybrid MHD code (Belova et al 2015 Phys. Rev. Lett. 115 15001). Finally, the amplitudes of the observed CAEs fall well below the threshold for causing significant ion heating by stochastic velocity space diffusion (Gates et al 2001 Phys. Rev. Lett. 87 205003).
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.