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ECH effects on toroidal rotation: KSTAR experiments, intrinsic torque modelling and gyrokinetic stability analyses


Toroidal rotation profiles have been investigated in KSTAR H-mode plasma using combined auxiliary heating by co-neutral beam injection (NBI) and electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECH). The ion temperature and toroidal rotation are measured with x-ray imaging crystal spectroscopy and charge exchange recombination spectroscopy. H-mode plasma is achieved using co-current 1.3 MW NBI, and a 0.35 MW ECH pulse is added to the flat-top of H-mode. The core rotation profiles, which are centrally peaked in the pure NBI heating phase, flatten when ECH is injected, while the edge pedestal is unchanged. Dramatic decreases in the core toroidal rotation values (ΔVtor/V tor ∼ -30%) are observed when on-axis ECH is added to H-mode. The experimental data show that the decrease of core rotation velocity and its gradient are correlated with the increase of core electron temperature and its gradient, and also with the likely steepening of the density gradient. We thus explore the viability of a hypothesized ITG (ITG ion temperature gradient instability) → TEM (trapped electron mode instability) transition as the explanation of the observed counter-current flow induced by ECH. However, the results of linear microstability analyses using inferred profiles suggest that the TEM is excited only in the deep core, so the viability of the hypothesized explanation is not yet clear. © 2013 IAEA, Vienna.

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