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The stability of ballooning modes in tokamaks with internal transport barriers

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JournalPhysics of Plasmas
DatePublished - Sep 2005
Issue number9
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)-
Original languageEnglish


Modern tokamaks can produce transport barriers (TBs)-localized regions with an increased energy confinement. Previous studies have been unable to examine the stability of internal TBs to radially extended short-wavelength magnetohydrodynamic instabilities ("ballooning modes"), for the usual case with a sheared plasma flow and a magnetic shear that passes through zero near the TB. An established technique is adapted to study this situation, finding instability if (1) there is a low-pressure gradient, and if (2) the nearest "resonant surface" at which a Fourier mode is resonant, is sufficiently close. Surprisingly, flow shear is no more stabilizing than for magnetic shears of order one. This is explained. Without a strongly stabilizing mechanism, ballooning modes will fundamentally limit a TB's radial extent, preventing them from extending across the entire plasma radius.

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