Microtearing modes in spherical and conventional tokamaks
Journal article, 2013
The onset and characteristics of microtearing modes (MTM) in the core of spherical (NSTX) and conventional tokamaks (ASDEX Upgrade and JET) are studied through local linear gyrokinetic simulations with GYRO (Candy and Belli 2011 General Atomics Report GA-A26818). For experimentally relevant core plasma parameters in the NSTX and ASDEX Upgrade tokamaks, in agreement with previous works, we find MTMs as the dominant linear instability. Also, for JET-like core parameters considered in our study an MTM is found as the most unstable mode. In all of these plasmas, finite collisionality is needed for MTMs to become unstable and the electron temperature gradient is found to be the fundamental drive. However, a significant difference is observed in the dependence of the linear growth rate of MTMs on electron temperature gradient. While it varies weakly and non-monotonically in JET and ASDEX Upgrade plasmas, in NSTX it increases with the electron temperature gradient.