The role of plasma elongation on turbulent transport in magnetically confined plasmas
The theoretical study of plasma turbulence is of central importance to fusion research. Experimental evidence indicates that the confinement time results mainly from the turbulent transport of energy, the magnitude of which depends on the turbulent state resulting from nonlinear saturation mechanisms, in particular, the self-generation of coherent macroscopic structures and large scale flows. Plasma geometry has a strong impact on the structure and magnitude of these flows and also modifies the mode linear growth rates. Nonlinear global gyrokinetic simulations in realistic tokamak magnetohydrodynamic equilibria show how plasma shape can control the turbulent transport. Results are best described in terms of an effective temperature gradient. With increasing plasma elongation, the nonlinear critical effective gradient is not modified while the stiffness of transport is decreasing.