Global approach to the spectral problem of microinstabilities in tokamak plasmas using a gyrokinetic model

Ion temperature gradient (ITG) -related instabilities are studied in tokamak-like plasmas with the help of a new global eigenvalue code. Ions are modeled in the frame of gyrokinetic theory so that finite Larmor radius effects of these particles are retained to all orders. Non-adiabatic trapped electron dynamics is taken into account through the bounce-averaged drift kinetic equation. Assuming electrostatic perturbations, the system is closed with the quasineutrality relation. Practical methods are presented which make this global approach feasible. These include a non-standard wave decomposition compatible with the curved geometry as well as adapting an efficient root finding algorithm for computing the unstable spectrum. These techniques are applied to a low pressure configuration given by a large aspect ratio torus with circular, concentric magnetic surfaces. Simulations from a linear, time evolution, particle in cell code provide a useful benchmark. Comparisons with local ballooning calculations for different parameter scans enable further validation while illustrating the limits of that representation at low toroidal wave numbers or for non-interchange-like instabilities. The stabilizing effect of negative magnetic shear is also considered, in which case the global results show not only an attenuation of the growth rate but also a reduction of the radial extent induced by a transition from the toroidal- to the slab-ITG mode. Contributions of trapped electrons to the ITG instability as well as the possible coupling to the trapped electron mode are clearly brought to the fore.

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