Magneto-hydrodynamically stable axisymmetric mirrors

Ryutov, D. D.; Berk, H. L.; Cohen, B. I.; Molvik, A. W.; Simonen, T. C.
September 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Sep2011, Vol. 18 Issue 9, p092301
Academic Journal
Making axisymmetric mirrors magnetohydrodynamically (MHD) stable opens up exciting opportunities for using mirror devices as neutron sources, fusion-fission hybrids, and pure-fusion reactors. This is also of interest from a general physics standpoint (as it seemingly contradicts well-established criteria of curvature-driven instabilities). The axial symmetry allows for much simpler and more reliable designs of mirror-based fusion facilities than the well-known quadrupole mirror configurations. In this tutorial, after a summary of classical results, several techniques for achieving MHD stabilization of the axisymmetric mirrors are considered, in particular: (1) employing the favorable field-line curvature in the end tanks; (2) using the line-tying effect; (3) controlling the radial potential distribution; (4) imposing a divertor configuration on the solenoidal magnetic field; and (5) affecting the plasma dynamics by the ponderomotive force. Some illuminative theoretical approaches for understanding axisymmetric mirror stability are described. The applicability of the various stabilization techniques to axisymmetric mirrors as neutron sources, hybrids, and pure-fusion reactors are discussed; and the constraints on the plasma parameters are formulated.


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