Neoclassical tearing mode saturation in periodic current sheets

Militello, F.; Ottaviani, M.; Porcelli, F.
April 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Apr2008, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p042104
Academic Journal
The saturation of Neoclassical Tearing Mode islands in a periodic slab configuration is investigated. Several theoretical models, all based on a generalization of Rutherford’s procedure, that aim at reducing the complete system to a single equation of the magnetic island width, are compared against numerical simulations. When the effects of the bootstrap current and of the second derivative of the equilibrium current profile are included, the numerical saturation levels are well matched with the predictions of this equation in a wide region of the stability diagram. However, the numerical results diverge from the standard theory when evaluating the threshold for nonlinear destabilization, since the theoretical value appears to be strongly conservative. In other words, the standard generalization of Rutherford’s equation is not able to capture the minimum value of the linear stability parameter and of the island width such that below them the Neoclassical Tearing Mode is always suppressed. To correct this discrepancy, a new theoretical model in which the transverse propagation of the island affects the bootstrap current term is proposed.


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