Thermonuclear Instabilities and Plasma Edge Transport in Tokamaks
Doctoral thesis, 1999
High-energy ions generated by fusion reactions in a burning fusion plasma may give rise to different types of wave instabilities. The present thesis investigates two types of such instabilities which recently have been observed in fusion experiments: the Toroidal Alfvén Eigenmode (TAE) instability and the magnetoacoustic cyclotron instability (MCI) which is predicted to give rise to ion cyclotron emission (ICE).
The TAE instability may degrade the confinement of fusion-produced high energy alpha particles and adversely affect the possibilities of reaching ignition. The present work derives a generalized expression for the linear growth rate of the instability, by including the effects of finite orbit width and finite Larmor radius of energetic particles, as well as the effects of mode localization and the possible mode excitation by both passing and trapped energetic ions.
ICE does not threaten the plasma performance, but it might be useful as a fast ion diagnostic. The ICE originates from the MCI involving fast magnetoacoustic waves driven unstable by toroidicity-affected cyclotron resonance with fast ions. In the present thesis a detailed numerical and analytical investigation of this instability is presented, that explains most of the experimental ICE features observed in JET and TFTR. Moreover, the radial and poloidal localization of the fast magnetoacoustic eigenmodes is investigated, including the effects of toroidicity, ellipticity, the presence of a subpopulation of high energy ions and various profiles of the bulk ion density.
In a fusion reactor, the transport of the particles near the edge have a strong influence on the global confinement of the plasma. In the edge region, where neutral atoms and impurity ions are abundant and the temperature and density gradients are large, the assumptions of the standard neoclassical theory break down. In this thesis, we explore the effect of neutral particles on the ion flow shear in the edge region. Furthermore, the neoclassical transport theory in an impure, toroidally rotating plasma is extended to allow for steeper pressure and temperature gradients than are usually considered.