P. Helander - Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Greifswald, Germany

P. Helander
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P. Helander
Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Greifswald, Germany

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Physics - Plasma Physics (18)
Astrophysics (2)
Physics - Space Physics (1)
Physics - Statistical Mechanics (1)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (1)
Physics - Computational Physics (1)

Publications Authored By P. Helander

Affiliations: 1Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, 2Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, 3Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, 4Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik

A potential threat to the performance of magnetically confined fusion plasmas is the problem of impurity accumulation, which causes the concentration of highly charged impurity ions to rise uncontrollably in the center of the plasma and spoil the energy confinement by excessive radiation. It has long been thought that the collisional transport of impurities in stellarators always leads to such accumulation (if the electric field points inwards, which is usually the case), whereas tokamaks, being axisymmetric, can benefit from "temperature screening", i.e. Read More

In the complex 3D magnetic fields of stellarators, ion-temperature-gradient turbulence is shown to have two distinct saturation regimes, as revealed by petascale numerical simulations, and explained by a simple turbulence theory. The first regime is marked by strong zonal flows, and matches previous observations in tokamaks. The newly observed second regime, in contrast, exhibits small- scale quasi-two-dimensional turbulence, negligible zonal flows, and, surprisingly, a weaker heat flux scaling. Read More

The bootstrap current and flow velocity of a low-collisionality stellarator plasma are calculated. As far as possible, the analysis is carried out in a uniform way across all low-collisionality regimes in general stellarator geometry, assuming only that the confinement is good enough that the plasma is approximately in local thermodynamic equilibrium. It is found that conventional expressions for the ion flow speed and bootstrap current in the low-collisionality limit are accurate only in the $1/\nu$-collisionality regime and need to be modified in the $\sqrt{\nu}$-regime. Read More

Upper bounds are derived on the amount of magnetic energy that can be generated by dynamo action in collisional and collisionless plasmas with and without external forcing. A hierarchy of mathematical descriptions is considered for the plasma dynamics: ideal MHD, visco-resistive MHD, the double-adiabatic theory of Chew, Goldberger and Low (CGL), kinetic MHD, and other kinetic models. It is found that dynamo action is greatly constrained in models where the magnetic moment of any particle species is conserved. Read More

The linear gyrokinetic stability properties of magnetically confined electron-positron plasmas are investigated in the parameter regime most likely to be relevant for the first laboratory experiments involving such plasmas, where the density is small enough that collisions can be ignored and the Debye length substantially exceeds the gyroradius. Although the plasma beta is very small, electromagnetic effects are retained, but magnetic compressibility can be neglected. The work of a previous publication (Helander, 2014) is thus extended to include electromagnetic instabilities, which are of importance in closed-field-line configurations, where such instabilities can occur at arbitrarily low pressure. Read More

It is shown that in perfectly quasi-isodynamic stellarators, trapped particles with a bounce frequency much higher than the frequency of the instability are stabilizing in the electrostatic and collisionless limit. The collisionless trapped-particle instability is therefore stable as well as the ordinary electron-density-gradient-driven trapped-electron mode. This result follows from the energy balance of electrostatic instabilities and is thus independent of all other details of the magnetic geometry. Read More

The "universal" instability has recently been revived by Landreman, Antonsen and Dorland [1], who showed that it indeed exists in plasma geometries with straight (but sheared) magnetic field lines. Here it is demonstrated analytically that this instability can be present in more general sheared and toroidal geometries. In a torus, the universal instability is shown to be closely related to the trapped-electron mode, although the trapped-electron drive is usually dominant. Read More

Affiliations: 1Department of Applied Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, 2Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, 3Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Greifswald, Germany, 4Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Greifswald, Germany, 5Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Greifswald, Germany

Impurities cause radiation losses and plasma dilution, and in stellarator plasmas the neoclassical ambipolar radial electric field is often unfavorable for avoiding strong impurity peaking. In this work we use a new continuum drift-kinetic solver, the SFINCS code (the Stellarator Fokker-Planck Iterative Neoclassical Conservative Solver) [M. Landreman et al. Read More

The electromagnetic theory of the strongly driven ion-temperature-gradient (ITG) instability in magnetically confined toroidal plasmas is developed. Stabilizing and destabilizing effects are identified, and a critical $\beta_{e}$ (the ratio of the electron to magnetic pressure) for stabilization of the toroidal branch of the mode is calculated for magnetic equilibria independent of the coordinate along the magnetic field. Its scaling is $\beta_{e}\sim L_{Te}/R,$ where $L_{Te}$ is the characteristic electron temperature gradient length, and $R$ the major radius of the torus. Read More

The particle transport of impurities in magnetically confined plasmas under some conditions does not find, neither quantitatively nor qualitatively, a satisfactory theory-based explanation. This compromise the successful realization of thermo-nuclear fusion for energy production since its accumulation is known to be one of the causes that leads to the plasma breakdown. In standard reactor-relevant conditions this accumulation is in most stellarators intrinsic to the lack of toroidal symmetry, that leads to the neoclassical electric field to point radially inwards. Read More

A stellarator is said to be omnigeneous if all particles have vanishing average radial drifts. In omnigeneous stellarators, particles are perfectly confined in the absence of turbulence and collisions, whereas in non-omnigeneous configurations, particle can drift large radial distances. One of the consequences of omnigeneity is that the unfavorable inverse scaling with collisionality of the stellarator neoclassical fluxes disappears. Read More

First observations of electrostatic potential variations within the flux surfaces of a toroidal magnetic confinement device are presented. Measurements are taken in the TJ-II stellarator with two distant Langmuir probe arrays. The edge floating potentials display differences of several tens of Volts in electron-root wave-heated plasmas. Read More

In this work, we examine the validity of several common simplifying assumptions used in numerical neoclassical calculations for nonaxisymmetric plasmas, both by using a new continuum drift-kinetic code and by considering analytic properties of the kinetic equation. First, neoclassical phenomena are computed for the LHD and W7-X stellarators using several versions of the drift-kinetic equation, including the commonly used incompressible-ExB-drift approximation and two other variants, corresponding to different effective particle trajectories. It is found that for electric fields below roughly one third of the resonant value, the different formulations give nearly identical results, demonstrating the incompressible ExB-drift approximation is quite accurate in this regime. Read More

We investigate the linear theory of the ion-temperature-gradient (ITG) mode, with the goal of developing a general understanding that may be applied to stellarators. We highlight the Wendelstein 7X (W7-X) device. Simple fluid and kinetic models that follow closely from existing literature are reviewed and two new first-principle models are presented and compared with results from direct numerical simulation. Read More

This is the first of two papers about collisionless, electrostatic micro-instabilities in stellarators, with an emphasis on trapped-particle modes. It is found that, in so-called maximum-$J$ configurations, trapped-particle instabilities are absent in large regions of parameter space. Quasi-isodynamic stellarators have this property (approximately), and the theory predicts that trapped electrons are stabilizing to all eigenmodes with frequencies below the electron bounce frequency. Read More

Microinstabilities exhibit a rich variety of behavior in stellarators due to the many degrees of freedom in the magnetic geometry. It has recently been found that certain stellarators (quasi-isodynamic ones with maximum-$J$ geometry) are partly resilient to trapped-particle instabilities, because fast-bouncing particles tend to extract energy from these modes near marginal stability. In reality, stellarators are never perfectly quasi-isodynamic, and the question thus arises whether they still benefit from enhanced stability. Read More

The impurity dynamics in stellarators has become an issue of moderate concern due to the inherent tendency of the impurities to accumulate in the core when the neoclassical ambipolar radial electric field points radially inwards (ion root regime). This accumulation can lead to collapse of the plasma due to radiative losses, and thus limit high performance plasma discharges in non-axisymmetric devices.\\ A quantitative description of the neoclassical impurity transport is complicated by the breakdown of the assumption of small $\mathbf{E}\times \mathbf{B}$ drift and trapping due to the electrostatic potential variation on a flux surface $\tilde{\Phi}$ compared to those due to the magnetic field gradient. Read More

Most theoretical descriptions of the production of solar flare bremsstrahlung radiation assume the collision of dilute accelerated particles with a cold, dense target plasma, neglecting interactions of the fast particles with each other. This is inadequate for situations where collisions with this background plasma are not completely dominant, as may be the case in, for example, low-density coronal sources. We aim to formulate a model of a self-interacting, entirely fast electron population in the absence of a dense background plasma, to investigate its implications for observed bremsstrahlung spectra and the flare energy budget. Read More

Finite thermal velocity modifications to electron slowing-down rates may be important for the deduction of solar flare total electron energy. Here we treat both slowing-down and velocity diffusion of electrons in the corona at flare temperatures, for the case of a simple, spatially homogeneous source. Including velocity diffusion yields a consistent treatment of both `accelerated' and `thermal' electrons. Read More

Affiliations: 1Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, 2Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, 3EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association, 4EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association, 5EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association

A model for the solar coronal magnetic field is proposed where multiple directed loops evolve in space and time. Loops injected at small scales are anchored by footpoints of opposite polarity moving randomly on a surface. Nearby footpoints of the same polarity aggregate, and loops can reconnect when they collide. Read More

Self-organised criticality (SOC) has been suggested as a potentially powerful unifying paradigm for interpreting the structure of, and signals from, accretion systems. After reviewing the most promising sites where SOC might be observable, we consider the theoretical arguments for supposing that SOC can occur in accretion discs. Perhaps the most rigorous evidence is provided by numerical modelling of energy dissipation due to magnetohydrodynamic turbulence in accretion discs by G Geertsema & A Achterberg (A&A {\bf 255}, 427 (1992)); we investigate how "sandpile"-type dynamics arise in this model. Read More