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Title: Edge Localised Modes (ELMs): Experiments and Theory

Abstract

Edge Localised Modes (ELMs) are periodic disturbances of the plasma periphery occurring in tokamaks with an H-mode edge transport barrier. As a result, a fraction of the plasma energy present in the confined hot edge plasma is transferred to the open field lines in the divertor region, ultimately appearing at the divertor target plates. These events can result in high transient heat loads being deposited on the divertor target plates in large tokamaks, potentially causing damage in devices such as ITER. Consequently it is important to find means to mitigate their effects, either avoiding them or, at least, controlling them. This in turn means it is essential to understand the physics causing ELMs so that appropriate steps can be taken. It is generally agreed that ELMs originate as MHD instability caused by the steep plasma pressure gradients or edge plasma current present in H-mode, the so-called 'peeling-ballooning' model. Normally this is considered to be an ideal MHD instability but resistivity may be involved. Much less clear is the non-linear evolution of these instabilities and the mechanisms by which the confined edge plasma is transferred to the divertor plasma. There is evidence for the non-linear development of 'filamentary' structures predicted bymore » theory, but the reconnection processes by which these are detached from the plasma core remain uncertain. In this paper the experimental and theoretical evidence for the peeling-ballooning model is presented, drawing data from a number of tokamaks, e.g. JET, DIII-D, ASDEX-Upgrade, MAST etc. Some theoretical models for the non-linear evolution of ELMs are discussed; as well as ones related to the 'peeling-ballooning' model, other candidate models for the ELM cycle are mentioned. The consequential heat loads on divertor target plates are discussed. Based on our current understanding of the physics of ELMs, means to avoid them, or mitigate their consequences, are described, e.g. the use of plasma shaping or introducing resonant magnetic perturbation coils to reduce plasma gradients at the plasma edge.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]
  1. EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association, Culham Science Centre, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 3DB (United Kingdom)
  2. University of York, Heslington, York, UK, YO10 5DD (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21143420
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1013; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 1. ITER international summer school on turbulent transport in fusion plasmas, Aix en Provence (France), 16-20 Jul 2007; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2939030; (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ASDEX TOKAMAK; BALLOONING INSTABILITY; BOUNDARY LAYERS; DISTURBANCES; DIVERTORS; DOUBLET-3 DEVICE; EDGE LOCALIZED MODES; ELECTRIC CURRENTS; H-MODE PLASMA CONFINEMENT; HEATING LOAD; ITER TOKAMAK; JET TOKAMAK; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; MAST TOKAMAK; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; PLASMA; PLASMA PRESSURE; RADIATION TRANSPORT

Citation Formats

Connor, J. W., Kirk, A., and Wilson, H. R. Edge Localised Modes (ELMs): Experiments and Theory. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2939030.
Connor, J. W., Kirk, A., & Wilson, H. R. Edge Localised Modes (ELMs): Experiments and Theory. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2939030.
Connor, J. W., Kirk, A., and Wilson, H. R. 2008. "Edge Localised Modes (ELMs): Experiments and Theory". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2939030.
@article{osti_21143420,
title = {Edge Localised Modes (ELMs): Experiments and Theory},
author = {Connor, J. W. and Kirk, A. and Wilson, H. R.},
abstractNote = {Edge Localised Modes (ELMs) are periodic disturbances of the plasma periphery occurring in tokamaks with an H-mode edge transport barrier. As a result, a fraction of the plasma energy present in the confined hot edge plasma is transferred to the open field lines in the divertor region, ultimately appearing at the divertor target plates. These events can result in high transient heat loads being deposited on the divertor target plates in large tokamaks, potentially causing damage in devices such as ITER. Consequently it is important to find means to mitigate their effects, either avoiding them or, at least, controlling them. This in turn means it is essential to understand the physics causing ELMs so that appropriate steps can be taken. It is generally agreed that ELMs originate as MHD instability caused by the steep plasma pressure gradients or edge plasma current present in H-mode, the so-called 'peeling-ballooning' model. Normally this is considered to be an ideal MHD instability but resistivity may be involved. Much less clear is the non-linear evolution of these instabilities and the mechanisms by which the confined edge plasma is transferred to the divertor plasma. There is evidence for the non-linear development of 'filamentary' structures predicted by theory, but the reconnection processes by which these are detached from the plasma core remain uncertain. In this paper the experimental and theoretical evidence for the peeling-ballooning model is presented, drawing data from a number of tokamaks, e.g. JET, DIII-D, ASDEX-Upgrade, MAST etc. Some theoretical models for the non-linear evolution of ELMs are discussed; as well as ones related to the 'peeling-ballooning' model, other candidate models for the ELM cycle are mentioned. The consequential heat loads on divertor target plates are discussed. Based on our current understanding of the physics of ELMs, means to avoid them, or mitigate their consequences, are described, e.g. the use of plasma shaping or introducing resonant magnetic perturbation coils to reduce plasma gradients at the plasma edge.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2939030},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 1013,
place = {United States},
year = 2008,
month = 5
}
  • Edge Localised Modes (ELMs) in ITER Q = 10 H-mode plasmas are likely to lead to large transient heat loads to the divertor. In order to avoid an ELM induced reduction of the divertor lifetime, the large ELM energy losses need to be controlled. In ITER, ELM control is foreseen using magnetic field perturbations created by in-vessel coils and the injection of small D2 pellets. ITER plasmas are characterised by low collisionality at a high density (high fraction of the Greenwald density limit). These parameters cannot simultaneously be achieved in current experiments. Thus, the extrapolation of the ELM properties andmore » the requirements for ELM control in ITER relies on the development of validated physics models and numerical simulations. Here, we describe the modelling of ELMs and ELM control methods in ITER. The aim of this paper is not a complete review on the subject of ELM and ELM control modelling but rather to describe the current status and discuss open issues.« less
  • Edge Localised Modes (ELMs) in ITER Q = 10 H-mode plasmas are likely to lead to large transient heat loads to the divertor. To avoid an ELM induced reduction of the divertor lifetime, the large ELM energy losses need to be controlled. In ITER, ELM control is foreseen using magnetic field perturbations created by in-vessel coils and the injection of small D2 pellets. ITER plasmas are characterised by low collisionality at a high density (high fraction of the Greenwald density limit). These parameters cannot simultaneously be achieved in current experiments. Therefore, the extrapolation of the ELM properties and the requirements for ELM controlmore » in ITER relies on the development of validated physics models and numerical simulations. In this paper, we describe the modelling of ELMs and ELM control methods in ITER. The aim of this paper is not a complete review on the subject of ELM and ELM control modelling but rather to describe the current status and discuss open issues.« less
  • Here, impurity transport in the DIII-D tokamak is investigated in stationary high confinement (H-mode) regimes without edge localized modes (ELMs). In plasmas maintained by resonant magnetic perturbation (RMP) ELM-suppression and QH-mode the confinement time of fluorine (Z=9) is equivalent to that in ELMing discharges with 40 Hz ELMs. For selected discharges with impurity injection the impurity particle confinement time compared to the energy confinement time is in the range of τ pe ≈ 2 $-$ 3. In QH-mode operation the impurity confinement time is shown to be smaller for intense, coherent magnetic and density fluctuations of the edge harmonicmore » oscillation than weaker fluctuations. Transport coefficients are derived from the time evolution of the impurity density profile and compared to neoclassical and turbulent transport models NEO and TGLF. Neoclassical transport of fluorine is found to be small compared to the experimental values. In the ELMing and RMP ELM-suppressed plasma the impurity transport is affected by the presence of tearing modes. For radii larger than the mode radius the TGLF diffusion coefficient is smaller than the experimental value by a factor of 2-3, while the convective velocity is within error estimates. Low levels of diffusion are observed for radii smaller than the tearing mode radius. In the QH-mode plasma investigated, the TGLF diffusion coefficient higher inside of ρ = 0.4 and lower outside of 0.4 than the experiment, and the TGLF convective velocity is more negative by a factor of approximately 1.7.« less
  • The generic question is considered: How can we determine the probability of an otherwise quasi-random event, having been triggered by an external influence? A specific problem is the quantification of the success of techniques to trigger, and hence control, edge-localised plasma instabilities (ELMs) in magnetically confined fusion (MCF) experiments. The development of such techniques is essential to ensure tolerable heat loads on components in large MCF fusion devices, and is necessary for their development into economically successful power plants. Bayesian probability theory is used to rigorously formulate the problem and to provide a formal solution. Accurate but pragmatic methods aremore » developed to estimate triggering probabilities, and are illustrated with experimental data. These allow results from experiments to be quantitatively assessed, and rigorously quantified conclusions to be formed. Example applications include assessing whether triggering of ELMs is a statistical or deterministic process, and the establishment of thresholds to ensure that ELMs are reliably triggered.« less
  • Edge localised mode (ELM) measurements from reproducibly similar plasmas in the Joint European Torus (JET) tokamak, which differ only in their gas puffing rate, are analysed in terms of the pattern in the sequence of inter-ELM time intervals. It is found that the category of ELM defined empirically as type I-typically more regular, less frequent, and having larger amplitude than other ELM types-embraces substantially different ELMing processes. By quantifying the structure in the sequence of inter-ELM time intervals using delay time plots, we reveal transitions between distinct phase space dynamics, implying transitions between distinct underlying physical processes. The control parametermore » for these transitions between these different ELMing processes is the gas puffing rate.« less