Energy confinement comparable with tokamak quality is achieved in the Madison Symmetric Torus (MST) reversed field pinch (RFP) at a high beta and low toroidal magnetic field. Magnetic fluctuations normally present in the RFP are reduced via parallel current drive in the outer region of the plasma. In response, the electron temperature nearly triples and beta doubles. The confinement time increases ten-fold (to ∼10 ms), which is comparable with L- and H-mode scaling values for a tokamak with the same plasma current, density, heating power, size and shape. Runaway electron confinement is evidenced by a 100-fold increase in hard x-ray bremsstrahlung. Fokker-Planck modelling of the x-ray energy spectrum reveals that the high energy electron diffusion is independent of the parallel velocity, uncharacteristic of magnetic transport and more like that for electrostatic turbulence. The high core electron temperature correlates strongly with a broadband reduction of resonant modes at mid-radius where the stochasticity is normally most intense. To extend profile control and add auxiliary heating, rf current drive and neutral beam heating are in development. Low power lower-hybrid and electron Bernstein wave injection experiments are underway. Dc current sustainment via ac helicity injection (sinusoidal inductive loop voltages) is also being tested. Low power neutral beam injection shows that fast ions are well-confined, even in the presence of relatively large magnetic fluctuations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics