Gyrokinetic microstability analyses, with and without electromagnetic effects, are presented for a spherical tokamak plasma equilibrium closely resembling that from a high confinement mode (H mode) discharge in the mega-ampere spherical tokamak (MAST) [A. Sykes et al., Nucl. Fusion 41, 1423 (2001)]. Electrostatic ion temperature gradient driven modes (ITG modes) were found to be unstable on all surfaces, though they are likely to be substantially stabilized by equilibrium E × B flow shear. Electron temperature gradient driven modes (ETG modes) have stronger growth rates that substantially exceed the equilibrium flow shearing rates. Mixing length arguments suggest that ITG modes would give rise to significant transport if they are not stabilized by sheared flows, and predict weak transport from ETG turbulence. Significant plasma flows have been neglected in this first analysis, and are probably important in the delicate balance between ITG growth rates and flow shear, and in the formation of internal transport barriers on MAST. Electromagnetic effects are found to be important even in this low β discharge, especially for longer length-scale modes with k⊥_ρ O1 < O(1) on the inner surfaces, where tearing parity modes are found to be the fastest growing modes, with growth rates that are sensitive to the electron collision frequency. These tearing parity microinstabilities are highly extended along the magnetic field, and have been reported in a number of spherical tokamak equilibria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics