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Theses Doctoral

A Kalman Filter for Active Feedback on Rotating External Kink Instabilities in a Tokamak Plasma

Hanson, Jeremy M.

The first experimental demonstration of feedback suppression of rotating external kink modes near the ideal wall limit in a tokamak using Kalman filtering to discriminate the n = 1 kink mode from background noise is reported. In order to achieve the highest plasma pressure limits in tokamak fusion experiments, feedback stabilization of long-wavelength, external instabilities will be required, and feedback algorithms will need to distinguish the unstable mode from noise due to other magnetohydrodynamic activity. When noise is present in measurements of a system, a Kalman filter can be used to compare the measurements with an internal model, producing a realtime, optimal estimate for the system's state. For the work described here, the Kalman filter contains an internal model that captures the dynamics of a rotating, growing instability and produces an estimate for the instability's amplitude and spatial phase. On the High Beta Tokamak-Extended Pulse (HBT-EP) experiment, the Kalman filter algorithm is implemented using a set of digital, field-programmable gate array controllers with 10 microsecond latencies. The feedback system with the Kalman filter is able to suppress the external kink mode over a broad range of spatial phase angles between the sensed mode and applied control field, and performance is robust at noise levels that render feedback with a classical, proportional gain algorithm ineffective. Scans of filter parameters show good agreement between simulation and experiment, and feedback suppression and excitation of the kink mode are enhanced in experiments when a filter made using optimal parameters from the experimental scans is used.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Navratil, Gerald
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2020