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Observation of compressional Alfvén eigenmodes (CAE) in a conventional tokamak

  • Author(s): Heidbrink, WW
  • Fredrickson, ED
  • Gorelenkov, NN
  • Rhodes, TL
  • Van Zeeland, MA
  • et al.

Fast-ion instabilities with frequencies somewhat below the ion cyclotron frequency occur frequently in spherical tokamaks such as the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). NSTX and the DIII-D tokamak are nearly ideal for fast-ion similarity experiments, having similar neutral beams, fast-ion to Alfvén speed vf/vA, fast-ion pressure, and shape of the plasma but with a factor of two difference in major radius. When DIII-D is operated at low field (0.6 T), compressional Alfvén eigenmode (CAE) instabilities appear that closely resemble the NSTX instabilities. In particular, the mode frequencies, polarization and beam-energy threshold are nearly identical to NSTX. CAE in high-field discharges and emission at cyclotron harmonics are also observed. As on NSTX, the basic stability properties are consistent with the idea that the instability is driven by anisotropy in the fast-ion velocity distribution and is damped predominantly by Landau damping of electrons. The results suggest that these modes might be excited in ITER. © 2006 IAEA, Vienna.

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