Intrinsic suppression of turbulence in linear plasma devices

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Plasma turbulence is the dominant transport mechanism for heat and particles in magnetized plasmas in linear devices and tokamaks, so the study of turbulence is important in limiting and controlling this transport. Linear devices provide an axial magnetic field that serves to confine a plasma in cylindrical geometry as it travels along the magnetic field from the source to the strike point. Due to perpendicular transport, the plasma density and temperature have a roughly Gaussian radial profile with gradients that drive instabilities, such as resistive drift-waves and Kelvin-Helmholtz. If unstable, these instabilities cause perturbations to grow resulting in saturated turbulence, increasing the cross-field transport of heat and particles. When the plasma emerges from the source, there is a time, τk, that describes the lifetime of the plasma based on parallel velocity and length of the device. As the plasma moves down the device, it also moves azimuthally according to E × B and diamagnetic velocities. There is a balance point in these parallel and perpendicular times that sets the stabilisation threshold. We simulate plasmas with a variety of parallel lengths and magnetic fields to vary the parallel and perpendicular lifetimes, respectively, and find that there is a clear correlation between the saturated RMS density perturbation level and the balance between these lifetimes. The threshold of marginal stability is seen to exist where τk ≈ 11τ⊥. This is also associated with the product τkγ∗, where γ∗ is the drift-wave linear growth rate, indicating that the instability must exist for roughly 100 times the growth time for the instability to enter the non-linear growth phase. We explore the root of this correlation and the implications for linear device design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125011
Pages (from-to)1-5
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number12
Early online date11 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2017

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