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Collision frequency dependence of polarization current in neoclassical tearing modes

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JournalPhysics of Plasmas
DatePublished - Mar 2012
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)-
Original languageEnglish


The neoclassical polarization current, generated when a magnetic island propagates through a tokamak plasma, is believed to influence the initial stage of the neoclassical tearing mode evolution. Understanding the strength of its contribution in the relevant plasma collision frequency regimes for future tokamaks such as ITER is crucial for the successful control and/or avoidance of the neoclassical tearing mode. A nonlinear drift kinetic theory is employed to determine the full collision frequency dependence of the neoclassical polarization current in the small island limit, comparable to the trapped ion orbit width. Focusing on the region away from the island separatrix (where a layer with a complex mix of physics processes exists), we evaluate for the first time the variation of the neoclassical ion polarization current in the transition regime between the analytically tractable collisionless and collisional limits. In addition, the island propagation frequency-dependence of the neoclassical polarization current and its contribution to the island evolution is revealed. For a range of propagation frequencies, we find that the neoclassical polarization current is maximum in the intermediate collision frequency regime analyzed here-a new and unexpected result. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. []

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