Basic investigations of electrostatic turbulence and its interaction with plasma and suprathermal ions in a simple magnetized toroidal plasma
Progress in basic understanding of turbulence and its influence on the transport both of the plasma bulk and of suprathermal components is achieved in the TORPEX simple magnetized torus. This configuration combines a microwave plasma production scheme with a quasi-equilibrium generated by a toroidal magnetic field, onto which a small vertical component is superimposed, simulating a simplified form of tokamak scrape-off layers. After having clarified the formation of blobs in ideal interchange turbulence, TORPEX experiments elucidated the mechanisms behind the blob motion, with a general scaling law relating their size and speed. The parallel currents associated with the blobs, responsible for the damping of the charge separation that develops inside them, hence determining their cross-field velocity, have been measured. The blob dynamics is influenced by creating convective cells with biased electrodes, arranged in an array on a metal limiter. Depending on the biasing scheme, radial and vertical blob velocities can be varied. Suprathermal ion transport in small-scale turbulence is also investigated on TORPEX. Suprathermal ions are generated by a miniaturized lithium source, and are detected using a movable double-gridded energy analyser. We characterize vertical and radial spreading of the ion beam, associated with the ideal interchange-dominated plasma turbulence, as a function of the suprathermal ion energy and the plasma temperature. Experimental results are in good agreement with global fluid simulations, including in cases of non-diffusive behaviour. To investigate the interaction of plasma and suprathermal particles with instabilities and turbulence in magnetic configurations of increasing complexity, a closed field line configuration has recently been implemented on TORPEX, based on a current-carrying wire suspended in the vacuum chamber. First measurements indicate the creation of circular symmetric profiles centred on the magnetic axis, and instabilities driven in the region of strong gradients, with a strong ballooning character.