A new field-reversed configuration (FRC) formation technique is described, where a spheromak transitions to a FRC with inductive current drive. The transition is accomplished only in argon and krypton plasmas, where low- n kink modes are suppressed; spheromaks with a lighter majority species, such as neon and helium, either display a terminal tilt-mode, or an n=2 kink instability, both resulting in discharge termination. The stability of argon and krypton plasmas through the transition is attributed to the rapid magnetic diffusion of the currents that drive the kink-instability. The decay of helicity during the transition is consistent with that expected from resistivity. This observation indicates a new scheme to form a FRC plasma, provided stability to low- n modes is maintained, as well as a unique situation where the FRC is a preferred state.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics