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Anomalous electron-ion energy coupling in electron drift wave turbulence

Abstract

Turbulence is a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature, and it is well known that turbulence couples energy input to dissipation by cascade processes. Plasma turbulence play a critical role in tokamak confinement. Magnetized plasma turbulence is quasi 2D, anisotropic, wave like and two fluid (i.e. electrons and ions) in structure. Thus, weakly collisional plasma turbulence can mediate electron and ion energy transfer. The issue of anomalous electron and ion energy coupling is particularly important for low collisionality, electron heated plasmas, such as ITER. In this work, we reconsider the classic problem of turbulent heating and energy transfer pathways in drift wave turbulence. The total turbulent heating, composed of quasilinear electron cooling, quasilinear ion heating, nonlinear ion heating and zonal flow frictional heating, is analyzed. In Chapter 2, the electron and ion energy exchange via linear wave and particle resonance will be computed. To address net heating, we show the turbulent heating in an annulus arises due to a wave energy flux differential across this region. We show this net heating is proportional to the Reynolds work on the zonal flow. Zonal flow friction heats ions, thus the turbulence and zonal flow interaction enters as an important energy transfer channel. Since zonal flows are nonlinearly generated, it follows that we should apply weak turbulence theory to calculate the nonlinear ion turbulent heating via the virtual mode resonance in the electron drift wave turbulence, which will be discussed in Chapter 3. We defines a new collisionless turbulent energy transfer channel through nonlinear Landau damping in the electron and ion energy coupling process. The result shows that nonlinear ion heating can exceed quasilinear ion heating, so that nonlinear heating becomes the principal collisionless wave energy dissipation channel in electron drift wave turbulence. This follows since the beat mode resonates with the bulk of the ion distribution, in contrast to the linear resonance which is located on the tail. This result also suggests that zonal flow shearing is not necessarily the only saturation mechanism of importance, especially for very low collisionality. This observation brings a new perspective on electron heat transport where ions, play a role as an energy "sink" in a collisionless plasma, such as ITER. In addition, it is shown that the electron turbulent energy transfer to ions in a collisionless plasma can be the same order as electron heat transport losses. Thus, it is necessary to consider the influence of collisionless energy transfer to determine the total energy budget in ITER

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