Theses Doctoral

How Rotation affects Instabilities and the Plasma Response to Magnetic Perturbations in a Tokamak Plasma

DeBono, Bryan

This thesis presents the systematic study of the multimode external kink mode structure and dynamics in the High-Beta Tokamak Extended-Pulse experiment (HBT-EP) when the plasma rotation is externally controlled using a source of toroidal momentum input. The capabilities of the HBT-EP tokamak to study rotation physics was greatly extended during a 2009-2010 major upgrade, when a new adjustable conducting wall, a high-power modular control coil array system, and an extensive set of 216 poloidal and radial magnetic sensors were installed on the machine. HBT-EP was additionally equipped with a biased edge electrode which made it possible to adjust the plasma ion and plasma magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) mode rotation frequencies by imparting an electromagnetic torque on the plasma. The design of this biased edge electrode, and its capability to torque the plasma is described. The rotation frequency of the helical kink modes was directly inferred from analysis of the magnetics dataset. To directly measure the plasma ion acceleration as the plasma was torqued by the biased electrode, a novel high-throughput and fast-response spectroscopic rotation diagnostic was installed on HBT-EP. This spectroscopic rotation diagnostic was designed to measure the velocity of He ions, therefore when conducting experiments using the spectroscopic rotation diagnostic a gas mixture of 90%D and 10%He was used. With its current power supplies the bias probe is capable of accelerating the primary m/n=3/1 helical kink mode (which has a natural rotation frequency between +7-+9kHz) to somewhere between -50kHz-+25kHz depending on the probe bias. At a probe voltage of +175V the He impurity ions were seen to accelerate by 3km/sec. Biorthogonal decomposition (BD) analysis was applied to the large magnetics dataset and used to determine the multimode m/n spectrum of the helical kink modes present in HBT-EP. The dominant helicities present as revealed by the BD are the m/n=3/1 and m/n=6/2 modes, which represent about 85% and 8% of the total MHD activity respectively. This percentages remain consistent across the entire range of 3/1 mode rotation frequencies obtainable from the bias probe, (-50kHz-25kHz). The Hilbert transform technique was also applied to magnetic sensor data to determine the instantaneous amplitude and frequency of the total MHD activity. The total MHD amplitude was seen to decrease with increasing plasma rotation, a 35% reduction as the 3/1 mode was accelerated from +6-+24kHz. Active MHD spectroscopy experiments using a resonant magnetic perturbation (RMP) are able to excite a clear three-dimensional plasma response. Plasma rotation is theoretically expected to increase plasma stability to external resonant error elds, and in HBT-EP the plasma amplitude response to a m/n=3/1 RMP increases by a factor of 2.7 when the plasma rotation is decreased from +25kHz to +-2kHz. As the RMP amplitude increases, slower plasmas are seen to disrupt at a lower perturbation amplitude than unperturbed or rapidly rotating modes. The 6/2 helical kink mode also shows an amplitude and phase response to the 3/1 RMP, and like the 3/1 mode the amplitude response is largest when the plasma is slowly rotating. The ratio between the plasma 6/2 amplication and the 3/1 amplication to a 3/1 RMP is nearly constant, regardless of the plasma rotation or the RMP amplitude.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Mauel, Michael E.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014