Journal article

Plasma dynamics with second and third-harmonic ECRH and access to quasi-stationary ELM-free H-mode on TCV

Intense electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH) and electron cyclotron current drive (ECCD) are employed on the Tokamak a Configuration Variable (TCV) both in second- and third-harmonic X-mode (X2 and X3). The plasma behaviour under such conditions is driven largely by the electron dynamics, motivating extensive studies of the heating and relaxation phenomena governing both the thermal and suprathermal electron populations. In particular, the dynamics of suprathermal electrons are intimately tied to the physics of X2 ECCD. ECRH is also a useful tool for manipulating the electron distribution function in both physical and velocity space. Fundamental studies of the energetic electron dynamics have been performed using periodic, low-duty-cycle bursts of ECRH, with negligible average power injection, and with electron cyclotron emission (ECE). The characteristic times of the dynamical evolution are clearly revealed. Suprathermal electrons have also been shown to affect the absorption of X3 radiation. Thermal electrons play a crucial role in high density plasmas where indirect ion heating can be achieved through ion-electron collisions. In recent experiments approximate to 1.35 MW of vertically launched X3 ECRH was coupled to a diverted ELMy H-mode plasma. In cases where >= 1.1 MW of ECRH power was coupled, the discharge was able to transition into a quasi-stationary ELM-free H-mode regime. These H-modes operated at beta(N) approximate to 2, (n) over bar (e)/n(G) approximate to 0.25 and had high energy confinement, H-IPB98(y,H-2) up to approximate to 1.6. Despite being purely electron heated and having no net particle source these discharges maintained a density peaking factor (n(e,o)/< n(e)> approximate to 1.6). They also exhibited spontaneous toroidal momentum production in the co-current direction. The momentum production is due to a transport process as there is no external momentum input. This process supports little or no radial gradient of the toroidal velocity.


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