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Study of chirping toroidicity-induced Alfvén eigenmodes in the National Spherical Torus Experiment

  • Author(s): Podestà, M
  • Bell, RE
  • Bortolon, A
  • Crocker, NA
  • Darrow, DS
  • Diallo, A
  • Fredrickson, ED
  • Fu, GY
  • Gorelenkov, NN
  • Heidbrink, WW
  • Kramer, GJ
  • Kubota, S
  • LeBlanc, BP
  • Medley, SS
  • Yuh, H
  • et al.

Chirping toroidicity-induced Alfvén eigenmodes (TAEs) are destabilized during neutral beam injection on the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX (Ono M. et al 2000 Nucl. Fusion 40 557)) by super-Alfvénic ions with velocities up to five times larger than the Alfvén velocity. TAEs exhibit repeated bursts in amplitude and down-chirps in frequency. Larger bursts, so-called TAE avalanches, are eventually observed and correlate with a loss of fast ions up to 30% over ∼1ms. Frequency, amplitude and radial structure of TAEs are characterized via magnetic pickup coils and a multi-channel reflectometer system. The modes have a broad radial structure, which appears to be unaffected by the large frequency and amplitude variations. However, the large mode amplitude does impact the modes' dynamics by favouring the coupling among different modes. In addition, the coupling involves kink-like modes and can therefore degrade the thermal plasma confinement. In spite of the non-linear regime characterizing the TAE dynamics, the measured properties are found to be in reasonable agreement with solutions from the ideal MHD code NOVA. © 2012 IAEA, Vienna.

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