Initial development of the DIII-D snowflake divertor control

E. Kolemen, P. J. Vail, M. A. Makowski, S. L. Allen, B. D. Bray, M. E. Fenstermacher, D. A. Humphreys, A. W. Hyatt, C. J. Lasnier, A. W. Leonard, A. G. McLean, R. Maingi, R. Nazikian, T. W. Petrie, V. A. Soukhanovskii, E. A. Unterberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Simultaneous control of two proximate magnetic field nulls in the divertor region is demonstrated on DIII-D to enable plasma operations in an advanced magnetic configuration known as the snowflake divertor (SFD). The SFD is characterized by a second-order poloidal field null, created by merging two first-order nulls of the standard divertor configuration. The snowflake configuration has many magnetic properties, such as high poloidal flux expansion, large plasma-wetted area, and additional strike points, that are advantageous for divertor heat flux management in future fusion reactors. However, the magnetic configuration of the SFD is highly-sensitive to changes in currents within the plasma and external coils and therefore requires complex magnetic control. The first real-time snowflake detection and control system on DIII-D has been implemented in order to stabilize the configuration. The control algorithm calculates the position of the two nulls in real-time by locally-expanding the Grad-Shafranov equation in the divertor region. A linear relation between variations in the poloidal field coil currents and changes in the null locations is then analytically derived. This formulation allows for simultaneous control of multiple coils to achieve a desired SFD configuration. It is shown that the control enabled various snowflake configurations on DIII-D in scenarios such as the double-null advanced tokamak. The SFD resulted in a 2.5× reduction in the peak heat flux for many energy confinement times (2-3 s) without any adverse effects on core plasma performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066007
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 11 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • DIII-D
  • advanced divertor
  • control
  • divertor
  • snowflake


Dive into the research topics of 'Initial development of the DIII-D snowflake divertor control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this