Journal article

Transition from drift to interchange instabilities in an open magnetic field line configuration

The transition from a regime dominated by drift instabilities to a regime dominated by pure interchange instabilities is investigated and characterized in the simple magnetized toroidal device TORPEX [TORoidal Plasma EXperiment, A. Fasoli et al., Phys. of Plasmas 13, 055906 (2006)]. The magnetic field lines are helical, with a dominant toroidal component and a smaller vertical component. Instabilities with a drift character are observed in the favorable curvature region, on the high field side with respect to the maximum of the background density profile. For a limited range of values of the vertical field they coexist with interchange instabilities in the unfavorable curvature region, on the plasma low field side. With increasing vertical magnetic field magnitude, a gradual transition between the two regimes is observed on the low field side, controlled by the value of the field line connection length. The observed transition follows the predictions of a two-fluid linear model. ©2008 American Institute of Physics

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