Optimizing stellarators for large flows

Iván Calvo, Felix I. Parra, J. Arturo Alonso, José Luis Velasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Plasma flow is damped in stellarators because they are not intrinsically ambipolar, unlike tokamaks, in which the flux-surface averaged radial electric current vanishes for any value of the radial electric field. Only quasisymmetric stellarators are intrinsically ambipolar, but exact quasisymmetry is impossible to achieve in non-axisymmetric toroidal configurations. By calculating the violation of intrinsic ambipolarity due to deviations from quasisymmetry, one can derive criteria to assess when a stellarator can be considered quasisymmetric in practice, i.e. when the flow damping is weak enough. Let us denote by α a small parameter that controls the size of a perturbation to an exactly quasisymmetric magnetic field. Recently, it has been shown that if the gradient of the perturbation is sufficiently small, the flux-surface averaged radial electric current scales as α2 for any value of the collisionality. It was also argued that when the gradient of the perturbation is large, the quadratic scaling is replaced by a more unfavorable one. In this paper, perturbations with large gradients are rigorously treated. In particular, it is proven that for low collisionality a perturbation with large gradient yields, at best, an O(|α|) deviation from quasisymmetry. Heuristic estimations in the literature incorrectly predicted an O(|α|3/2) deviation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094003
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • magnetic confinement fusion
  • plasma rotation
  • quasisymmetry
  • stellarator


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