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Title: Theory and Simulations of Compressional and Global Alfven Eigenmode Stability in Spherical Tokamaks
Authors: Lestz, Jeff
Advisors: Belova, Elena V
Gorelenkov, Nikolai N
Contributors: Astrophysical Sciences—Plasma Physics Program Department
Keywords: Alfven waves
Cyclotron resonance
Fast ions
Hybrid simulations
Linear stability
Tokamak instabilities
Subjects: Plasma physics
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Neutral-beam-driven, sub-cyclotron compressional (CAE) and global (GAE) Alfven eigenmodes are routinely excited in spherical tokamaks such as NSTX(-U) and MAST, have been observed on the conventional aspect ratio tokamak DIII-D, and may be unstable in ITER burning plasmas. Their presence has been experimentally linked to the anomalous flattening of electron temperature profiles at high beam power in NSTX, potentially limiting fusion performance. A detailed understanding of CAE/GAE excitation, therefore, is vital to predicting (and ultimately controlling) their effects on plasma confinement. To this end, hybrid kinetic-MHD simulations, performed with the HYM code, are complemented with an analytic study of the linear stability properties of CAEs and GAEs. Perturbative, local analytic theory has been used to derive new instability conditions for CAEs/GAEs driven by realistic neutral beam distributions. A comprehensive set of simulations of NSTX-like plasmas has been performed for a wide range of beam parameters, providing a wealth of information on CAE and GAE stability in spherical tokamaks. This study is unique in that it uses a full orbit kinetic description of the beam ions in order to capture the Doppler-shifted cyclotron resonances which drive the modes. Linear simulations show that the excitation of CAEs vs GAEs has a complex dependence on the fast ion injection velocity and geometry, qualitatively described by the analytic theory developed in this thesis. Strong energetic particle modifications of GAEs are found in simulations, indicating the existence of a new type of high frequency energetic particle mode. A cross validation between the theoretical stability bounds, simulation results, and experimental measurements shows favorable agreement for both the unstable CAE and GAE spectra's dependence on fast ion parameters. The analytic results accurately explain the recent experimental discovery of GAE stabilization with small amounts of off-axis beam injection on NSTX-U, and suggest new techniques for control of these instabilities in future experiments.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Plasma Physics

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