Tearing modes in tokamaks typically rotate while small and then lock at a fixed location when larger. Research on present-day devices has focused almost exclusively on stabilisation of rotating modes, as it has been considered imperative to avoid locked modes. However, in larger devices, stabilisation during the rotating phase is made difficult by fast locking at small island widths, and large broadening of the stabilising wave-driven current profile. In contrast, the smaller island width at locking not only mitigates the deleterious consequences of locked modes, but also permits their efficient stabilisation. On large devices, it thus becomes surprisingly advantageous to allow the mode to grow and lock naturally before stabilising it, challenging the mainstream strategy of neoclassical tearing mode stabilisation during the rotating phase. Calculations indicate that a locked island stabilisation strategy should be adopted in the ITER tokamak, with a large potential impact on the fusion gain and disruptivity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics
- RF stabilisation
- locked modes
- neoclassical tearing modes