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Collisionless inter-species energy transfer and turbulent heating in drift wave turbulence

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We reconsider the classic problems of calculating turbulent heating and collisionless inter-species transfer of energy in drift wave turbulence. These issues are of interest for low collisionality, electron heated plasmas, such as ITER, where collisionless energy transfer from electrons to ions is likely to be significant. From the wave Poynting theorem at steady state, a volume integral over an annulus r 1 ≤r ≤r 2, gives the net heating as r 1 r 2 dr Ẽ · J̃ - S r | r 1 r 2 0. Here S r is the wave energy density flux in the radial direction. Thus, a wave energy flux differential across an annular region indeed gives rise to a net heating, in contrast to previous predictions. This heating is related to the Reynolds work by the zonal flow, since S r is directly linked to the zonal flow drive. In addition to net heating, there is inter-species heat transfer. For collisionless electron drift waves, the total turbulent energy source for collisionless heat transfer is due to quasilinear electron cooling. Subsequent quasilinear ion heating occurs through linear ion Landau damping. In addition, perpendicular heating via ion polarization currents contributes to ion heating. Since at steady state, Reynolds work of the turbulence on the zonal flow must balance zonal flow frictional damping (∼ ν ii V θ2 ∼ |e/T| 4), it is no surprise that zonal flow friction appears as an important channel for ion heating. This process of energy transfer via zonal flow has not previously been accounted for in analyses of energy transfer. As an application, we compare the rate of turbulent energy transfer in a low collisionality plasma with the rate of the energy transfer by collisions. The result shows that the collisionless turbulent energy transfer is a significant energy coupling process for ITER plasma. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

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