Fast and pervasive heat transport induced by multiple locked modes in DIII-D

Q. Hu, X. Du, Q. Yu, N. C. Logan, Egemen Kolemen, R. Nazikian, Z. H. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This work presents the impact that multiple island chains co-existent across a tokamak plasma profile have on the heat transport and final temperature of that plasma. Numerical studies using the TM1 code show that error fields (EFs) with multiple poloidal components accelerate the core field penetration compared to pure m/ n = 2/1 EF penetration (here m and n are the poloidal and toroidal mode numbers respectively). After field penetration, locked magnetic islands of 2/1, 3/1 and 4/1 flatten the temperature at the corresponding rational surfaces. The co-existence of these islands significantly enhances the plasma heat transport throughout a wide swath of plasma from the core 2/1 rational surface to plasma edge. The electron temperature profile from 2/1 to 4/1 rational surfaces can be nearly flattened even if there is no island overlap, and the temperature inside each island is determined by the boundary temperature at the outboard separatrix of the island. The resulting central decreases by more than 50%, in good agreement with experimental observations and much lower than modeling with only a single 2/1 locked island. Further comparisons of the profile between numerical modeling and DIII-D experiment indicates that the observed reduction in the edge temperature requires edge island overlap and stochasticity. Numerical scans reveal the profile decreases further when large EF amplitudes create larger islands, wider edge stochastic regions and secondary island structures. Scans of the relative phase between EF harmonics reveal that the 3/1 island width is most sensitive to the island phase and the central changes with the 3/1 island width. These results indicate that the coexistence of multiple LMs in tokamak plasmas deteriorate thermal confinement more than the sum of their isolated impacts would and that this may be responsible for the fast thermal quench observed prior to major disruptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016005
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • disruption
  • error field
  • heat transport
  • multiple locked modes
  • thermal quench


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