Loss of confinement at the density limit due to the suppression of stabilizing zonal flows by magnetic turbulence

Kleva, Robert G.; Guzdar, Parvez N.
August 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Aug2008, Vol. 15 Issue 8, p082307
Academic Journal
The character of particle and energy transport in numerical simulations of drift-ballooning turbulence changes dramatically as the density exceeds a critical limit. When the density is not too large, then unstable drift-ballooning fluctuations grow and nonlinearly generate a sheared zonal (flux surface averaged) flow that saturates the turbulence. But when diamagnetic drift effects are small and the density increases beyond a critical limit, then the turbulent density flux increases monotonically in time to large values without saturation. This loss of confinement is caused by the suppression of the stabilizing zonal flow by the magnetic component of the turbulence. A Kelvin–Helmholtz-like shear-flow instability does not play any role in reducing the magnitude of the zonal flow. The magnetic turbulence prevents the zonal flow from growing large enough to become shear-flow unstable.


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