Edge profile stiffness and insensitivity of the density pedestal to neutral fuelling in Alcator C-Mod edge transport barriers

J.W. Hughes, B. Labombard, J. Terry, A. Hubbard, B. Lipschultz

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Mechanisms determining the structure of edge temperature and density pedestals, which are associated with edge transport barrier (ETB) formation in tokamaks, are investigated on Alcator C-Mod. Experiments suggest a strong role for critical gradient behaviour in setting profile characteristics of edge plasma. The maximum pressure gradient scales as the square of plasma current in both H-modes without edge-localized modes, and in the near scrape-off layer in Ohmic discharges. In either case, the pressure gradient obtained, normalized to the square of plasma current, is a function of local collisionality, hinting that common physics may contribute to setting profile gradients in both confinement regimes. Varying the neutral fuelling source has little effect on density gradient scale lengths in the ETB and a relatively weak impact on the height of the density pedestal, even during aggressive deuterium puffing. Strong screening of neutrals in the ETB are observed, creating a challenge for fuelling H-modes in C-Mod beyond their 'natural' density. A simple pedestal fuelling model does not reproduce the typically clamped density gradients seen in experiment during H-mode puffing. These results suggest that a simple diffusive model for plasma transport is deficient, and that a critical gradient assumption for transport may be essential for pedestal modelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1063
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear fusion
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007

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