Investigation into the formation of the scrape-off layer density shoulder in JET ITER-like wall L-mode and H-mode plasmas

Alasdair Wynn, Bruce Lipschultz, Istvan Cziegler, James R Harrison, Aaro Einari Jaervinen, Guy Matthews, Janina Schmitz, Balazs Tal, Mathias Brix, Christophe Guillemaut, Domenico Frigione, Alexander Huber, Emmanuel Henri Joffrin, Uron Kruezi, Fulvio Militello, Anders D. Nielsen, Nicholas Walkden, Sven Wiesen

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The low temperature boundary layer plasma (Scrape-Off-Layer or SOL) between the hot core and the surrounding vessel determines the level of power-loading, erosion and implantation of material surfaces, and thus the viability of tokamak-based fusion as an energy source. This study explores mechanisms affecting the formation of flattened density profiles, so-called ‘density shoulders’, in the low-field side (LFS) SOL, which modify ion and neutral fluxes to surfaces – and subsequent erosion. There is evidence against local enhancement of ionization inducing shoulder formation. We find that increases in SOL parallel resistivity, Λdiv (=[L||νei Ωi ]/cs Ωe), postulated to lead to shoulder growth through changes in SOL turbulence characteristics, correlates with increases in upstream SOL shoulder amplitude, As only under a subset of conditions (D2-fuelled L-mode density scans with outer strike point on the horizontal target). Λdiv fails to correlate with As for cases of N2 seeding or during sweeping of the strike point across the horizontal target. The limited correlation of Λdiv with As was also found for H-mode discharges. Thus, while Λdiv above a threshold of ~1 may be necessary for shoulder formation and/or growth, another shoulder mechanism is required. More significantly we find that in contrast to parallel resistivity, outer divertor recycling as quantified by the total outer divertor Balmer Dα emission, I-Dα, does scale with shoulder amplitude where Λdiv does and even where Λdiv fails. Divertor recycling could lead to SOL density shoulder formation through: a) reducing the parallel to the field flow (loss) of ions out of the SOL to the divertor; and b) changes in radial electric fields which lead to ExB poloidal flows as well as potentially affecting the SOL turbulence birth characteristics. Thus changes in divertor recycling may be the sole process in bringing about SOL density shoulders or in tandem with parallel resistivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number056001
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number5
Early online date7 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018

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  • tokamaks
  • scrapeoff layer transport
  • divertor recycling
  • divertor geometry
  • SOL shoulder

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