The plasma dynamics of enhanced confinement regimes in the TFTR core and the DIII-D core and edge are compared in order to identify a common physics basis. Despite differences in transition timescale and location, as well as the sign of the radial electric field Er, observations suggest that E×B shear effects on turbulence induced transport play a dominant role in governing barrier dynamics in all cases. Fast confinement bifurcations are observed in the TFTR core enhanced reverse shear (ERS) regime and in the edge DIII-D H mode. Both show spontaneous Er shear layer formation prior to the confinement change and a negative Er well that persists as steep gradients form. These dynamics differ from those of DIII-D negative central shear (NCS) plasmas. There, slow transitions are observed when the applied torque from unidirectional beam injection is small, while faster development and more dramatic confinement improvements occur at higher applied torques. Unlike the H mode and ERS cases, the NCS core generally has a positive Er hill and no strong Er shear precursor. However, similarity experiments performed on TFTR indicate that ERS, L mode and NCS-like regimes can all be accessed in a continuous fashion by varying the E×B shear through changes in the applied torque at constant power. As in the DIII-D NCS case, core confinement in TFTR reverse shear plasmas improves slowly as co-rotation begins to dominate the determination of Er, no strong Er shear layer develops prior to that improvement, and the plasma possesses a positive Er hill. Reductions in transport with Er gradients of either sign are consistent with the picture of E×B shear suppression and decorrelation of turbulence. At fixed input power, intermediate levels of confinement improvement are achieved by varying the E×B shear with changes in the applied neutral beam torque. The data suggest that control over the plasma pressure profile in a reactor may be possible if an external source of E×B shear, such as might be applied with RF techniques, is used to modify the shear which otherwise occurs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics