The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) produces plasmas with toroidal aspect ratio as low as 1.25, which can be heated by up to 6 MW high-harmonic fast waves and up to 7 MW of deuterium neutral beam injection. Using new poloidal field coils, plasmas with cross-section elongation up to 2.7, triangularity 0.8, plasma currents Ip up to 1.5 MA and normalized currents Ip/aBT up to 7.5 MA/mT have been achieved. A significant extension of the plasma pulse length, to 1.5 s at a plasma current of 0.7 MA, has been achieved by exploiting the bootstrap and NBI-driven currents to reduce the dissipation of poloidal flux. Inductive plasma startup has been supplemented by coaxial helicity injection (CHI) and the production of persistent current on closed flux surfaces by CHI has now been demonstrated in NSTX. The plasma response to magnetic field perturbations with toroidal mode numbers n ≤ 1 or 3 and the effects on the plasma rotation have been investigated using three pairs of coils outside the vacuum vessel. Recent studies of both MHD stability and of transport benefitted from improved diagnostics, including measurements of the internal poloidal field using the motional Stark effect (MSE). In plasmas with a region of reversed magnetic shear in the core, now confirmed by the MSE data, improved electron confinement has been observed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics