Stellarator coil design and plasma sensitivity

Ku, Long-Poe; Boozer, Allen H.
December 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Dec2010, Vol. 17 Issue 12, p122503
Academic Journal
The rich information contained in the plasma response to external magnetic perturbations can be used to help design stellarator coils more effectively. We demonstrate the feasibility by first developing a simple direct method to study perturbations in stellarators that do not break stellarator symmetry and periodicity. The method applies a small perturbation to the plasma boundary and evaluates the resulting perturbed free-boundary equilibrium to build up a sensitivity matrix for the important physics attributes of the underlying configuration. Using this sensitivity information, design methods for better stellarator coils are then developed. The procedure and a proof-of-principle application are given that (1) determine the spatial distributions of external normal magnetic field at the location of the unperturbed plasma boundary to which the plasma properties are most sensitive, (2) determine the distributions of external normal magnetic field that can be produced most efficiently by distant coils, and (3) choose the ratios of the magnitudes of the efficiently produced magnetic distributions so the sensitive plasma properties can be controlled. Using these methods, sets of modular coils are found for the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) which are either smoother or can be located much farther from the plasma boundary than those of the present design.


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