Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Velocity-space resolved fast-ion measurements in the DIII-D tokamak
by Muscatello, Christopher Michael, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2012, 150; 3502756
Abstract (Summary)

Superthermal ions in tokamak plasmas play a critical role in heating and current drive, and their confinement within the core of the plasma is crucial for obtaining ignition and sustaining burn in future reactors. At the DIII-D tokamak, a suite of fast-ion measurements is available to diagnose various properties of the superthermal population. This thesis work involves a contribution to DIII-D's fast-ion diagnostic collection: the 2nd generation fast-ion deuterium alpha (2G FIDA) detector. FIDA works on the principle of measuring the light that is emitted from neutralized fast ions that undergo charge exchange events with injected neutral atoms. 2G FIDA complements the other FIDA installations on DIII-D with its unique velocity-space sampling volume. Output from a synthetic diagnostic code (FIDAsim) that predicts FIDA emission levels is compared with measurements from 2G FIDA. We find that, while the predicted and measured shapes of the FIDA spectra agree well, the absolute magnitude of the spectral amplitudes are inconsistent. Results from various FIDAsim trials are presented adjusting several parameters, and it is hypothesized that mischaracterization of the diagnostic neutral beams is a major source of error. Instabilities in tokamaks can cause fast-ion transport. The sawtooth instability is particularly important because the crash phase has been observed to cause reductions up to 50% in the central fast-ion density. Passing ions of all energies are redistributed, but only low energy trapped ions suffer redistribution. The observations are consistent with transport by flux-attachment. Comparisons with theory suggest that the intensity of sawtooth-induced transport depends on the magnitude of toroidal drift. Instabilities characterized by toroidal and poloidal mode numbers and real frequency can coherently interact with energetic particles through mode-particle resonances. During a sawtooth crash, even fast ions whose energies are above the threshold for flux-attachment can experience transport if their orbits satisfy the bounce-precessional resonance condition. On DIII-D, a spatially localized population of beam ions accelerated above the injection energy by ion-cyclotron radio frequency (ICRF) heating is diminished at a sawtooth crash. Furthermore, fast-ion losses concurrent with sawtooth crashes are observed. Calculations show that mode-particle resonances could be responsible. Transport of energetic particles by resonant interactions pertains to many types of instabilities; other examples besides sawteeth will also be presented. Analysis shows that large amplitude modes cause significant resonant transport of fast particles. Even small amplitude modes can resonantly drive transport if multiple harmonics exist.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heidbrink, William W.
Commitee: Chen, Liu, McWilliams, Roger
School: University of California, Irvine
Department: Physics - Ph.D.
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Plasma physics
Keywords: Diagnostics, Fast-ion measurements, Fusion, Sawtooth crashes, Tokamak plasmas
Publication Number: 3502756
ISBN: 9781267260550
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