Time-dependent experimental identification of inter-ELM microtearing modes in the tokamak edge on DIII-D

A. O. Nelson, F. M. Laggner, A. Diallo, D. Smith, Z. A. Xing, R. Shousha, E. Kolemen

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15 Scopus citations


In a series of discharges on the DIII-D tokamak, fast vertical plasma jogs are used to induce current perturbations in the steep gradient region of the H-mode edge. These current perturbations directly influence the edge q profile, decoupling the resonant location and instability drive of pedestal-localized microtearing modes (MTMs). By exploiting this effect, we develop and apply a new experimental technique to track the dynamical frequency evolution of MTMs in the pedestal region, providing a compelling validation of the MTM model. The frequency of potential MTMs is calculated as the Doppler-shifted electron diamagnetic frequency at rational q = m/n surfaces, showing remarkable agreement with chirped frequency behavior of n = 3, 4 and 5 modes detected with fast magnetics. Data is collected throughout multiple ELM cycles in order to build robust statistics describing the time-dependent frequency evolution of MTMs, which can be explained by examining the recovery of pedestal gradients after an ELM event. MTMs have a dominant transport contribution in the electron thermal channel, so the presented results indicate that reduced models of pedestal transport must be electromagnetic in nature and constructed with accurate calculations of MTM stability; inclusion of this physics is essential for accurate predictions of the electron temperature pedestal profile. Supporting measurements of mode saturation, propagation direction and transport fingerprints are made to support the dynamic frequency determination, unambiguously and experimentally identifying MTMs in the pedestal region of DIII-D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116038
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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