Optimizing stellarators for large flows

Plasma flow is damped in stellarators because they are not intrinsically ambipolar, unlike tokamaks, in which the flux-surface averaged radial electric current vanishes for any value of the radial electric field. Only quasisymmetric stellarators are intrinsically ambipolar, but exact quasisymmetry is impossible to achieve in non-axisymmetric toroidal configurations. By calculating the violation of intrinsic ambipolarity due to deviations from quasisymmetry, one can derive criteria to assess when a stellarator can be considered quasisymmetric in practice, i.e. when the flow damping is weak enough. Let us denote by $\alpha$ a small parameter that controls the size of a perturbation to an exactly quasisymmetric magnetic field. Recently, it has been shown that if the gradient of the perturbation is sufficiently small, the flux-surface averaged radial electric current scales as $\alpha^2$ for any value of the collisionality. It was also argued that when the gradient of the perturbation is large, the quadratic scaling is replaced by a more unfavorable one. In this paper, perturbations with large gradients are rigorously treated. In particular, it is proven that for low collisionality a perturbation with large gradient yields, at best, an $O(|\alpha|)$ deviation from quasisymmetry. Heuristic estimations in the literature incorrectly predicted an $O(|\alpha|^{3/2})$ deviation.

Comments: 24 pages, 2 figures. To appear in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

Similar Publications

Field-line localized ballooning modes have been observed at the edge of high confinement mode plasmas in ASDEX Upgrade with rotating 3D perturbations induced by an externally applied n = 2 error field and during a moderate level of edge localized mode-mitigation. The observed ballooning modes are localized to the field-lines which experience one of the two zero-crossings of the radial flux surface displacement during one rotation period. The localization of the ballooning modes agrees very well with the localization of the largest growth rates from infinite-n ideal ballooning stability calculations using a realistic 3D ideal magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium. Read More


Very strong magnetic fields can arise in non-central heavy-ion collisions at ultrarelativistic energies, which may not decay quickly in a conducting plasma. We carry out relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (RMHD) simulations to study the effects of this magnetic field on the evolution of the plasma and on resulting flow fluctuations in the ideal RMHD limit. Our results show that magnetic field leads to enhancement in elliptic flow, though in general effects of magnetic field on elliptic flow are very complex. Read More


2017Mar
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


Ultracold plasmas (UCP) provide a well-controlled system for studying multiple aspects in plasma physics that include collisions and strong coupling effects. By applying a short electric field pulse to a UCP, a plasma electron center-of-mass (CM) oscillation can be initiated. In accessible parameter ranges, the damping rate of this oscillation is determined by the electron-ion collision rate. Read More


A highly elongated plasma is desirable in order to increase plasma pressure and energy confinement to maximize fusion power output. However, there is a limit to the maximum achievable elongation which is set by vertical instabilities driven by the $n=0$ MHD mode. This limit can be increased by optimizing several parameters characterizing the plasma and the wall. Read More


The energy of plasma waves can be moved up and down the spectrum using chirped modulations of plasma parameters, which can be driven by external fields. Depending on whether the wave spectrum is discrete (bounded plasma) or continuous (boundless plasma), this phenomenon is called ladder climbing (LC) or autoresonant acceleration of plasmons. It was first proposed by Barth \textit{et al. Read More


Within the problem of the finding of the mean potential energy of the charged particle in the plasma in this work a classification of physical systems (electrolytes, dusty plasmas, plasmas) is made based on consideration, or lack thereof, of a few special additional conditions. The system considered here, as well as other systems which are described with those additional conditions imposed are treated as the systems of the "closed" type, while the systems where those conditions are fully neglected - as being of the "open" type. In the our previous investigation one- and two component systems were examined. Read More


In fusion plasmas the strong magnetic field allows the fast gyro-motion to be systematically removed from the description of the dynamics, resulting in a considerable model simplification and gain of computational time. Nowadays, the gyrokinetic (GK) codes play a major role in the understanding of the development and the saturation of turbulence and in the prediction of the subsequent transport. Naturally, these codes require thorough verification and validation. Read More