Experiments in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) [Phys. Plasmas 2, 2176 (1995)] have explored several novel regimes of improved tokamak confinement in deuterium–tritium (D–T) plasmas, including plasmas with reduced or reversed magnetic shear in the core and high-current plasmas with increased shear in the outer region (high [formula omitted]). New techniques have also been developed to enhance the confinement in these regimes by modifying the plasma-limiter interaction through in situ deposition of lithium. In reversed-shear plasmas, transitions to enhanced confinement have been observed at plasma currents up to 2.2 MA [formula omitted] accompanied by the formation of internal transport barriers, where large radial gradients develop in the temperature and density profiles. Experiments have been performed to elucidate the mechanism of the barrier formation and its relationship with the magnetic configuration and with the heating characteristics. The increased stability of high-current, high-[formula omitted] plasmas produced by rapid expansion of the minor cross section, coupled with improvement in the confinement by lithium deposition has enabled the achievement of high fusion power, up to 8.7 MW, with D–T neutral beam heating. The physics of fusion alpha-particle confinement has been investigated in these regimes, including the interactions of the alphas with endogenous plasma instabilities and externally applied waves in the ion cyclotron range of frequencies. In D–T plasmas with [formula omitted] and weak magnetic shear in the central region, a toroidal Alfvén eigenmode instability driven purely by the alpha particles has been observed for the first time. The interactions of energetic ions with ion Bernstein waves produced by mode conversion from fast waves in mixed-species plasmas have been studied as a possible mechanism for transferring the energy of the alphas to fuel ions. © 1997, American Institute of Physics. All rights reserved.