Collisionless microtearing modes in hot tokamaks: Effect of trapped electrons
Collisionless microtearing modes have recently been found linearly unstable in sharp temperature gradient regions of large aspect ratio tokamaks. The magnetic drift resonance of passing electrons has been found to be sufficient to destabilise these modes above a threshold plasma beta. A global gyrokinetic study, including both passing electrons as well as trapped electrons, shows that the non-adiabatic contribution of the trapped electrons provides a resonant destabilization, especially at large toroidal mode numbers, for a given aspect ratio. The global 2D mode structures show important changes to the destabilising electrostatic potential. The beta threshold for the onset of the instability is found to be generally downshifted by the inclusion of trapped electrons. A scan in the aspect ratio of the tokamak configuration, from medium to large but finite values, clearly indicates a significant destabilizing contribution from trapped electrons at small aspect ratio, with a diminishing role at larger aspect ratios. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.