Internal transport barriers in the National Spherical Torus Experiment

Yuh, H. Y.; Levinton, F. M.; Bell, R. E.; Hosea, J. C.; Kaye, S. M.; LeBlanc, B. P.; Mazzucato, E.; Peterson, J. L.; Smith, D. R.; Candy, J.; Waltz, R. E.; Domier, C. W.; Luhmann Jr., N. C.; Lee, W.; Park, H. K.
May 2009
Physics of Plasmas;May2009, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p056120
Academic Journal
In the National Spherical Torus Experiment [M. Ono et al., Nucl. Fusion 41, 1435 (2001)], internal transport barriers (ITBs) are observed in reversed (negative) shear discharges where diffusivities for electron and ion thermal channels and momentum are reduced. While neutral beam heating can produce ITBs in both electron and ion channels, high harmonic fast wave heating can also produce electron ITBs (e-ITBs) under reversed magnetic shear conditions without momentum input. Interestingly, the location of the e-ITB does not necessarily match that of the ion ITB (i-ITB). The e-ITB location correlates best with the magnetic shear minima location determined by motional Stark effect constrained equilibria, whereas the i-ITB location better correlates with the location of maximum E×B shearing rate. Measured electron temperature gradients in the e-ITB can exceed critical gradients for the onset of electron thermal gradient microinstabilities calculated by linear gyrokinetic codes. A high-k microwave scattering diagnostic shows locally reduced density fluctuations at wave numbers characteristic of electron turbulence for discharges with strongly negative magnetic shear versus weakly negative or positive magnetic shear. Reductions in fluctuation amplitude are found to be correlated with the local value of magnetic shear. These results are consistent with nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations predicting a reduction in electron turbulence under negative magnetic shear conditions despite exceeding critical gradients.


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