Suppression and control of magnetic islands in toroidal plasmas

C. C. Hegna, A. Bhattacharjee, Y. Nakamura, M. Wakatani

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2 Scopus citations


Magnetic islands play an important role in determining the stability and confinement properties of toroidal plasmas. The nonlinear growth of magnetic islands can lead to major disruptions in tokamaks. In stellarators, which do not have a continuous symmetry, the formation of magnetic islands can set equilibrium beta limits. In the first part of this paper, a novel method is proposed for reducing drastically the size of m = 2, n = 1 islands in tokamaks by introducing a beamlet of energetic ions just outside the q = 2 surface via parallel neutral-beam injection. A simple physical picture is given of the nonlinear stability of a tearing mode in the Rutherford regime in the presence of energetic ions. This physical picture is supported by a kinetic calculation in the long mean-free-path regime in which the effect of bootstrap currents and resistive interchanges are retained. Estimates show that the energy of the beamlet required for the suppression is a small fraction of that used for Ohmic or beam-heating of the background plasma. In the second part of the paper, an equilibrium beta limit is obtained for stellarators by calculating the island widths induced by finite plasma pressure; the widths are then constrained by the criterion of island overlap. The theory is applied to the Heliotron-E device [Nakamura et al., Phys. Fluids B 2, 2528 (1990)]. It is shown that some aspects of the experimental observations on internal disruptions in Heliotron-E can be interpreted as signatures of the equilibrium beta limit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2285-2290
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics of Fluids B
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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