Theses Doctoral

Non-linear Dynamics in ETG Mode Saturation and Beam-Plasma Instabilities

Tokluoglu, Erinc K.

Non-linear mechanisms arise frequently in plasmas and beam-plasma systems resulting in dynamics not predicted by linear theory. The non-linear mechanisms can influence the time evolution of plasma instabilities and can be used to describe their saturation. Furthermore time and space averaged non-linear fields generated by instabilities can lead to collisionless transport and plasma heating. In the case of beam-plasma systems counter-intuitive beam defocusing and scaling behavior which are interesting areas of study for both Low-Temperature and High Energy Density physics.
The non-linear mode interactions in form of phase coupling can describe energy transfer to other modes and can be used to describe the saturation of plasma instabilities. In the first part of this thesis, a theoretical model was formulated to explain the saturation mechanism of Slab Electron Temperature Gradient (ETG) mode observed in the Columbia Linear Machine (CLM), based on experimental time-series data collected through probe diagnostics [1]. ETG modes are considered to be a major player in the unexplained high levels of electron transport observed in tokamak fusion experiments and the saturation mechanism of these modes is still an active area of investigation. The data in the frequency space indicated phase coupling between 3 modes, through a higher order spectral correlation coefficient known as bicoherence. The resulting model is similar to [2], which was a treatment for ITG modes observed in the CLM and correctly predicts the observed saturation level of the ETG turbulence. The scenario is further supported by the fact that the observed mode frequencies are in close alignment with those predicted theoretical dispersion relations.
Non-linear effects arise frequently in beam-plasma systems and can be important for both low temperature plasma devices commonly used for material processing as well as High Energy Density applications relevant to inertial fusion. The non-linear time averaged fields generated by beam-plasma instabilities can be responsible for defocusing and distorting beams propagating in background plasma. This can be problematic in inertial fusion applications where the beam is intended to propagate ballistically as the background plasma neutralizes the beam space charge and current. We used particle-in-cell (PIC) code LSP to numerically investigate the defocusing effects in an ion beam propagating in background plasma experiences as it is exposed to the non-linear fields generated by Two-Stream instability between beam ions and plasma electrons. Supported by theory and benchmarked by the numerical solutions of governing E&M equations, the simulations were used to find and check scaling laws for the defocusing forces in the parameter space of beam and plasma density as well as the beam ion mass. A transition region where the defocusing fields peak has been identified, which should be avoided in the design of experimental devices. We further proposed a diagnostic tool to identify the presence of the two-stream instability in a system with parameters similar to the National Drift Compression Experiment II (NDCX-II) and conducted proof-of concept simulations. In the case of electron beam propagating in background plasma instability driven collisionless scattering and plasma heating is observed. 1-D simulations conducted in EDIPIC were benchmarked in LSP to study the excitation and time-evolution of electron-electron Two-Stream instability. Coupling of electron dynamics via non-linear ponderomotive force created by instability generated fields with ion cavities and Ion-Acoustic mode excitation was observed. Furthermore 2-D simulations of an electron-beam in a background plasma was performed. Many of the effects in observed in 1-D simulations were replicated. Morever generation of oblique modes with transverse wave numbers were observed in the simulations, which resulted in significant transverse scattering of beam electrons and the time evolution of the turbulent spectrum was studied via Fourier techniques. It is plausible that the modes excited might be interacting non-linearly via mode-coupling, however further theoretical and numerical investigation of the turbulent spectrum is needed. The study of the more realistic 2-D system and the spectrum is important for the understanding of collisionless heating of plasmas by beams and the underlying energy delivery which can have important applications in especially low temperature plasma systems used primarily in etching and materials processing.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Sen, Amiya K.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 19, 2014