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.
The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has given us unprecedented access to high cadence particle and field data of magnetic reconnection at Earth's magnetopause. MMS first passed very near an X-line on 16 October 2015, the Burch event, and has since observed multiple X-line crossings. Subsequent 3D particle-in-cell (PIC) modeling efforts of and comparison with the Burch event have revealed a host of novel physical insights concerning magnetic reconnection, turbulence induced particle mixing, and secondary instabilities. In this study, we employ the Gkeyll simulation framework to study the Burch event with different classes of extended, multi-fluid magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), including models that incorporate important kinetic effects, such as the electron pressure tensor, with physics-based closure relations designed to capture linear Landau damping. Such fluid modeling approaches are able to capture different levels of kinetic physics in global simulations and are generally less costly than fully kinetic PIC. We focus on the additional physics one can capture with increasing levels of fluid closure refinement via comparison with MMS data and existing PIC simulations. In particular, we find that the ten-moment model well captures the agyrotropic structure of the pressure tensor in the vicinity of the X-line and the magnitude of anisotropic electron heating observed in MMS and PIC simulations. However, the ten-moment model has difficulty resolving the lower hybrid drift instability, which has been observed to plays a fundamental role in heating and mixing electrons in the current layer.
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.
Zweben SJ, Myra JR, Diallo A, Russell DA, Scotti F, Stotler DP
Transient small-scale structures were identified in the wake of blobs movingpoloidally through the SOL of high-powered H-mode plasmas in NSTX, using the gaspuff imaging (GPI) diagnostic. These blob wakes had a poloidal wavelength in therange 3.5 cm, which is significantly smaller than the average blob scale of~12 cm, and the wakes had a poloidal velocity of 1.5 km/sec in theelectron diamagnetic direction, which is opposite to the blob poloidal velocity inthese shots. These wakes were radially localized 0-4 cm outside the separatrix andoccurred within ~50 microsec after the passage of a blob through the GPI field of view.The clearest wakes were seen when the GPI viewing angle was well aligned with thelocal B field line, as expected for such small-scale structures given the diagnosticgeometry. A plausible theoretical interpretation of the wakes is discussed: theobserved wakes share some features of drift waves and/or drift-Alfven waves whichcould be excited
Protein sequence space is vast; nature uses only an infinitesimal fraction of possible sequences to sustain life. Are there solutions to biological problems other than those provided by nature? Can we create artificial proteins that sustain life? To investigate this question, the Hecht lab has created combinatorial collections, or libraries, of novel sequences with no homology to those found in living organisms. These libraries were subjected to screens and selections, leading to the identification of sequences with roles in catalysis, modulating gene regulation, and metal homeostasis. However, the resulting functional proteins formed dynamic rather than well-ordered structures. This impeded structural characterization and made it difficult to ascertain a mechanism of action.
To address this, Christina Karas's thesis work focuses on developing a new model of libraries based on the de novo protein S-824, a four-helix bundle with a very stable three-dimensional structure. The first part of this research focused on mutagenesis of S-824 and characterization of the resulting proteins, revealing that this scaffold tolerates amino acid substitutions, including buried polar residues and the removal of hydrophobic side chains to create a putative cavity.
Distinct from previous libraries, Karas targeted variability to a specific region of the protein, seeking to create a cavity and potential active site. The second part of this work details the design and creation of a library encoding 1.7 x 10^6 unique proteins, assembled from degenerate oligonucleotides. The third and fourth parts of this work cover the screening effort for a range of activities, both in vitro and in vivo. I found that this collection binds heme readily, leading to abundant peroxidase activity. Hits for lipase and phosphatase activity were also detected.
This work details the development of a new strategy for creating de novo sequences geared toward function rather than structure.
Yang, Yuan; Pan, Ming; Beck, Hylke; Fisher, Colby; Beighley, R. Edward; Kao, Shih-Chieh; Hong, Yang; Wood, Eric
Conventional basin-by-basin approaches to calibrate hydrologic models are limited to gauged basins and typically result in spatially discontinuous parameter fields. Moreover, the consequent low calibration density in space falls seriously behind the need from present-day applications like high resolution river hydrodynamic modeling. In this study we calibrated three key parameters of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model at every 1/8° grid-cell using machine learning-based maps of four streamflow characteristics for the conterminous United States (CONUS), with a total of 52,663 grid-cells. This new calibration approach, as an alternative to parameter regionalization, applied to ungauged regions too. A key difference made here is that we tried to regionalize physical variables (streamflow characteristics) instead of model parameters whose behavior may often be less well understood. The resulting parameter fields no longer presented any spatial discontinuities and the patterns corresponded well with climate characteristics, such as aridity and runoff ratio. The calibrated parameters were evaluated against observed streamflow from 704/648 (calibration/validation period) small-to-medium-sized catchments used to derive the streamflow characteristics, 3941/3809 (calibration/validation period) small-to-medium-sized catchments not used to derive the streamflow characteristics) as well as five large basins. Comparisons indicated marked improvements in bias and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency. Model performance was still poor in arid and semiarid regions, which is mostly due to both model structural and forcing deficiencies. Although the performance gain was limited by the relative small number of parameters to calibrate, the study and results here served as a proof-of-concept for a new promising approach for fine-scale hydrologic model calibrations.
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.
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).