Confinement and transport research in alcator C-Mod

M. Greenwald, N. Basse, P. Bonoli, E. Edlund, D. Ernst, C. Fiore, R. Granetz, A. Hubbard, J. Hughes, I. Hutchinson, J. Irby, B. LaBombard, L. Lin, Y. Lin, B. Lipschultz, E. Marmar, D. Mossessian, M. Porkolab, J. Rice, J. SnipesJ. Terry, S. Wolfe, S. Wukitch, K. Zhurovich, R. Bravenec, P. Phillips, W. Rowan, D. Mikkelsen, S. Scott

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Global and local transport experiments in ohmic, L-mode and H-mode regimes on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak are summarized. For ohmic plasmas, earlier results derived for energy confinement scaling in the Alcator (linear) regime have been confirmed, and the saturated confinement regime has been shown to be equivalent to that of L-mode. For auxiliary heated regimes, C-Mod provided a unique laboratory to test the standard scaling laws that had been previously derived. C-Mod's L-mode performance matches the L-mode scaling laws quite well, but the confinement times in H-mode were about 50% above the existing H-mode scaling laws. This difference was significant and pointed up shortcomings in the range and conditioning of the existing database. H-mode studies emphasize quasi-steady regimes with good energy confinement, no impurity accumulation, and no large edge-localized modes. A new H-mode regime, where the pedestal is regulated by a continuous quasi-coherent mode, has been investigated extensively. The regime is most accessible at higher safety factor, triangularity, and collisionality and at low ion mass, suggesting that the mode is a form of resistive ballooning. Studies on C-Mod first showed the quantitative link between edge temperatures, core temperature gradients, and core confinement. This link unified L-mode and H-mode and established a strong connection between local and global transport. Further work on the role of critical gradient lengths and marginal stability lent quantitative support to the ion temperature gradient theories for ion transport and have helped elucidate nonlinear saturation mechanisms for the turbulence. Local transport studies demonstrated connections between transport channels, with energy, particle, and momentum transport varying across regimes in similar ways. Experiments carried out in collaboration with the DIII-D, ASDEX-U, and JET groups confirmed the dimensionless scaling approach over the widest available range in machine sizes. These studies suggest that plasma physics is the dominant influence on transport in the core and pedestal for standard L- and H-mode discharges. Dimensionless scaling experiments have shown a strong improvement in confinement with the normalized gyro size (1/ρ*). Confinement was found to be Bohm-like in L-mode and gyro-Bohm-like in H-mode. These experiments also showed a strong degradation in confinement with collisionality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-287
Number of pages22
JournalFusion science and technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007

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