Infoscience

Thesis

Suprathermal ion transport in turbulent magnetized plasmas

Suprathermal ions, which have an energy greater than the quasi-Maxwellian background plasma temperature, are present in many laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. In fusion devices, they are generated by the fusion reactions and auxiliary heating. Controlling their transport is essential for the success of future fusion devices that could provide a clean, safe and abundant source of electric power to our society. In space, suprathermal ions include energetic solar particles and cosmic rays. The understanding of the acceleration and transport mechanisms of these particles is still incomplete. Basic plasma devices allow detailed measurements that are not accessible in astrophysical and fusion plasmas, due to the difficulty to access the former and the high temperatures of the latter. The basic toroidal device TORPEX offers an easy access for diagnostics, well characterized plasma scenarios and validated numerical simulations of its turbulence dynamics, making it the ideal platform for the investigation of suprathermal ion transport. This Thesis presents three-dimensional measurements of a suprathermal ion beam injected in turbulent TORPEX plasmas. The combination of uniquely resolved measurements and first-principle numerical simulations reveals the general non-diffusive nature of the suprathermal ion transport. A precise characterization of their transport regime shows that, depending on their energies, suprathermal ions can experience either a superdiffusive transport or a subdiffusive transport in the same background turbulence. The transport character is determined by the interaction of the suprathermal ion orbits with the turbulent plasma structures, which in turn depends on the ratio between the ion energy and the background plasma temperature. Time-resolved measurements reveal a clear difference in the intermittency of suprathermal ions time-traces depending on the transport regime they experience. Conditionally averaged measurements uncover the influence of field elongated turbulent structures, referred to as blobs, on the suprathermal ion beam. A theoretical model extending the Brownian motion to include non-Gaussian (Lévy) statistics and long-range temporal correlation is developed. This model successfully describes the evolution of the radial particle density from the numerical simulations and provides information on the microscopic processes underlying the non-diffusive transport of suprathermal ions.

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