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Author ORCID ID is 0000000336271278
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  1. Efficient high-harmonic fast-wave (HHFW) heating in the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) would facilitate experiments in turbulence, transport, fast-ion studies, and more. However, previous HHFW operation in NSTX exhibited a large loss of fast-wave power to the divertor along the scrape-off layer field lines for edge densities above the fast-wave cutoff. It was postulated that the wave amplitude is enhanced in the scrapeoff layer due to cavity-like modes, and that these enhanced fields drive sheath losses through RF rectification. As part of ongoing work to confirm this hypothesis, we have developed a cylindrical cold-plasma model to identify and understandmore » scenarios where a substantial fraction of wave power is confined to the plasma periphery. We previously identified a peculiar class of modes, named annulus resonances, that conduct approximately half of their wave power in the periphery and can also account for a significant fraction of the total wave power. Here, we study the influence of annulus resonances on wave field reconstructions and find instances where annulus-resonant modes dominate the spectrum and trap over half of the total wave power at the edge. The work is part of an ongoing effort to determine the mechanism underlying these scrape-off layer losses in NSTX, identify optimal conditions for operation in NSTX-U, and predict whether similar losses occur for the ion-cyclotron minority heating scheme for both current experiments and future devices such as ITER.« less
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  3. Heating magnetically confined plasmas using waves in the ion-cyclotron range of frequencies typically requires coupling these waves over a steep density gradient. Furthermore, this process has produced an unexpected and deleterious phenomenon on the National Spherical Torus eXperiment (NSTX): a prompt loss of wave power along magnetic field lines in front of the antenna to the divertor. Understanding this loss may be key to achieving effective heating and expanding the operational space of NSTX-Upgrade. Here, we propose that a new type of mode, which conducts a significant fraction of the total wave power in the low-density peripheral plasma, is drivingmore » these losses. We demonstrate the existence of such modes, which are distinct from surface modes and coaxial modes, in a cylindrical cold-plasma model when a half wavelength structure fits into the region outside the core plasma. The latter condition generalizes the previous hypothesis regarding the occurence of the edge losses and may explain why full-wave simulations predict these losses in some cases but not others. If valid, this condition implies that outer gap control is a potential strategy for mitigating the losses in NSTX-Upgrade in addition to raising the magnetic field or influencing the edge density.« less
  4. The National Spherical Torus eXperiment (NSTX) can exhibit a major loss of high-harmonic fast wave (HHFW) power along scrape-off layer (SOL) field lines passing in front of the antenna, resulting in bright and hot spirals on both the upper and lower divertor regions. One possible mechanism for this loss is RF sheaths forming at the divertors. We demonstrate that swept-voltage Langmuir probe characteristics for probes under the spiral are shifted relative to those not under the spiral in a manner consistent with RF rectification. We estimate both the magnitude of the RF voltage across the sheath and the sheath heatmore » flux transmission coefficient in the presence of the RF field. Though the precise comparison between computed heat flux and infrared (IR) thermography cannot yet be made, the computed heat deposition compares favorably with the projections from IR camera measurements. The RF sheath losses are significant and contribute substantially to the total SOL losses of HHFW power to the divertor for the cases studied. Our work will guide future experimentation on NSTX-U, where a wide-angle IR camera and a dedicated set of coaxial Langmuir probes for measuring the RF sheath voltage directly will quantify the contribution of RF sheath rectification to the heat deposition from the SOL to the divertor.« less

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