Overview of the Alcator C-MOD research programme

S. Scott, S. Bernabei, N. Greenough, J. Hosea, D.R. Mikkelsen, C.K. Phillips, G. Schilling, D. Stotler, J.R. Wilson, S. Zweben, A. Bader, N. Basse, W. Beck, P. Bonoli, B. Bose, R. Childs, I. Cziegler, E. Edlund, D. Ernst, M. FerraraC. Fiore, T. Fredian, T. Graves, R. Granetz, M. Greenwald, M. Grimes, A.E. Hubbard, J.W. Hughes, I. Hutchinson, A. Ince-Cushman, J. Irby, D. Johnson, J. Ko, P. Koert, B. Labombard, A. Kanojia, L. Lin, Y. Lin, B. Lipschultz, J. Liptac, P. MacGibbon, E. Marmar, K. Marr, R. McDermott, A. Parisot, R. Parker, M. Porkolab, M. Reinke, J. Rice, A. Schmidt, N. Smick, J. Snipes, J. Stillerman, D. Terry, J. Terry, R. Vieira, G. Wallace, D. Whyte, J. Wright, S. Wolfe, S. Wukitch, K. Zhurovich, J. Zaks, M. Bakhtiari, S. Harrison, G. Wright, T. Biewer, T. Jernigan, R. Bravenec, I. Bespamyatnov, P. Phillips, W. Rowan, M. Sampsell, R. Doerner, A. Fasoli, A. Graf, O. Grulke, D. Gwinn, R. Harvey, A. Smirnov, T.C. Hender, D.F. Howell, M. May, V. Tang, A. Lynn, M. Ulrickson, G. Wurden, H. Yuh

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Alcator C-MOD has compared plasma performance with plasma-facing components (PFCs) coated with boron to all-metal PFCs to assess projections of energy confinement from current experiments to next-generation burning tokamak plasmas. Low-Z coatings reduce metallic impurity influx and diminish radiative losses leading to higher H-mode pedestal pressure that improves global energy confinement through profile stiffness. RF sheath rectification along flux tubes that intersect the RF antenna is found to be a major cause of localized boron erosion and impurity generation. Initial lower hybrid current drive (LHCD) experiments (P <900 kW) in preparation for future advanced-tokamak studies have demonstrated fully non-inductive current drive at I ∼ 1.0 MA with good efficiency, I ≤ 0.4 P/nR (MA, MW, 10 m,m). The potential to mitigate disruptions in ITER through massive gas-jet impurity puffing has been extended to significantly higher plasma pressures and shorter disruption times. The fraction of total plasma energy radiated increases with the Z of the impurity gas, reaching 90% for krypton. A positive major-radius scaling of the error field threshold for locked modes (B/B ∝ R) is inferred from its measured variation with B that implies a favourable threshold value for ITER. A phase contrast imaging diagnostic has been used to study the structure of Alfvén cascades and turbulent density fluctuations in plasmas with an internal transport barrier. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for regulating the H-mode pedestal height is also crucial for projecting performance in ITER. Modelling of H-mode edge fuelling indicates high self-screening to neutrals in the pedestal and scrape-off layer (SOL), and reproduces experimental density pedestal response to changes in neutral source, including a weak variation of pedestal height and constant width. Pressure gradients in the near SOL of Ohmic L-mode plasmas are observed to scale consistently as , and show a significant dependence on X-point topology. Fast camera images of intermittent turbulent structures at the plasma edge show they travel coherently through the SOL with a broad radial velocity distribution having a peak at about 1% of the ion sound speed, in qualitative agreement with theoretical models. Fast D diagnostics during gas puff imaging show a complex behaviour of discrete ELMs, starting with an n ≈ 10 precursor oscillation followed by a rapid primary ejection as the pedestal crashes and then multiple, slower secondary ejections.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007

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