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  1. Energetic particle (EP) confinement is a key physics issue for burning plasma experiment ITER, the crucial next step in the quest for clean and abundant energy, since ignition relies on self-heating by energetic fusion products (α-particles). Due to the strong coupling of EP with burning thermal plasmas, plasma confinement property in the ignition regime is one of the most uncertain factors when extrapolating from existing fusion devices to the ITER tokamak. EP population in current tokamaks are mostly produced by auxiliary heating such as neutral beam injection (NBI) and radio frequency (RF) heating. Remarkable progress in developing comprehensive EP simulationmore » codes and understanding basic EP physics has been made by two concurrent SciDAC EP projects GSEP funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fusion Energy Science (OFES), which have successfully established gyrokinetic turbulence simulation as a necessary paradigm shift for studying the EP confinement in burning plasmas. Verification and validation have rapidly advanced through close collaborations between simulation, theory, and experiment. Furthermore, productive collaborations with computational scientists have enabled EP simulation codes to effectively utilize current petascale computers and emerging exascale computers. We review here key physics progress in the GSEP projects regarding verification and validation of gyrokinetic simulations, nonlinear EP physics, EP coupling with thermal plasmas, and reduced EP transport models. Advances in high performance computing through collaborations with computational scientists that enable these large scale electromagnetic simulations are also highlighted. These results have been widely disseminated in numerous peer-reviewed publications including many Phys. Rev. Lett. papers and many invited presentations at prominent fusion conferences such as the biennial International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Fusion Energy Conference and the annual meeting of the American Physics Society, Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP).« less
  2. Supported by this award, the PI and his research group at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have carried out computational and theoretical studies of instability, turbulence, and transport in laboratory and space plasmas. Several massively parallel, gyrokinetic particle simulation codes have been developed to study electromagnetic turbulence in space and laboratory plasmas. In space plasma projects, the simulation codes have been successfully applied to study the spectral cascade and plasma heating in kinetic Alfven wave turbulence, the linear and nonlinear properties of compressible modes including mirror instability and drift compressional mode, and the stability of the current sheet instabilitiesmore » with finite guide field in the context of collisionless magnetic reconnection. The research results have been published in 25 journal papers and presented at many national and international conferences. Reprints of publications, source codes, and other research-related information are also available to general public on the PI’s webpage ( Two PhD theses in space plasma physics are highlighted in this report.« less
  3. This project with a total funding of $592,998 for six years has partially supported four postdoctoral researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). The UCI team has formulated electrostatic and electromagnetic global gyrokinetic particle simulation models with kinetic electrons, implemented these models in the edge code XGC1, performed benchmark between GTC and XGC1, developed computational tools for gyrokinetic particle simulation in tokamak edge geometry, and initiated preparatory study of edge turbulence using GTC code. The research results has been published in 12 papers and presented at many international and national conferences.
  4. The compressional component of magnetic perturbation δB- || to can play an important role in drift-Alfvenic instabilities in tokamaks, especially as the plasma β increases (β is the ratio of kinetic pressure to magnetic pressure). In this work, we have formulated a gyrokinetic particle simulation model incorporating δB- ||, and verified the model in kinetic Alfven wave simulations using the Gyrokinetic Toroidal Code in slab geometry. Simulations of drift-Alfvenic instabilities in tokamak geometry shows that the kinetic ballooning mode (KBM) growth rate decreases more than 20% when δB- || is neglected for β e = 0.02, and that δB- ||more » to has stabilizing effects on the ion temperature gradient instability, but negligible effects on the collisionless trapped electron mode. Lastly, the KBM growth rate decreases about 15% when equilibrium current is neglected.« less
    Cited by 1
  5. The CMTFO funding partially supports a junior researcher and a graduate student at UCI. During this project, we have further developed the global gyrokinetic particle code GTC to study the momentum transport in tokamak driven by electrostatic ion temperature gradient (ITG) turbulence [1] with kinetic electrons and by collisionless trapped electron mode (CTEM) turbulence [2]. We have also upgraded GTC for fully electromagnetic simulation and for linear plasma configuration with verification and validation of the electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence in Columbia Linear Machine. The followings are the highlights on the physics results reported in the key publications of thismore » project.« less
  6. During the first year of the SciDAC gyrokinetic particle simulation (GPS) project, the GPS team (Zhihong Lin, Liu Chen, Yasutaro Nishimura, and Igor Holod) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) studied the tokamak electron transport driven by electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence, and by trapped electron mode (TEM) turbulence and ion temperature gradient (ITG) turbulence with kinetic electron effects, extended our studies of ITG turbulence spreading to core-edge coupling. We have developed and optimized an elliptic solver using finite element method (FEM), which enables the implementation of advanced kinetic electron models (split-weight scheme and hybrid model) in the SciDACmore » GPS production code GTC. The GTC code has been ported and optimized on both scalar and vector parallel computer architectures, and is being transformed into objected-oriented style to facilitate collaborative code development. During this period, the UCI team members presented 11 invited talks at major national and international conferences, published 22 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 10 papers in conference proceedings. The UCI hosted the annual SciDAC Workshop on Plasma Turbulence sponsored by the GPS Center, 2005-2007. The workshop was attended by about fifties US and foreign researchers and financially sponsored several gradual students from MIT, Princeton University, Germany, Switzerland, and Finland. A new SciDAC postdoc, Igor Holod, has arrived at UCI to initiate global particle simulation of magnetohydrodynamics turbulence driven by energetic particle modes. The PI, Z. Lin, has been promoted to the Associate Professor with tenure at UCI.« less
  7. A finite-mass electron fluid model for low frequency electromagnetic fluctuations, particularly the collisionless tearing mode, has been implemented in the gyrokinetic toroidal code. Using this fluid model, linear properties of the collisionless tearing mode have been verified. Simulations verify that the linear growth rate of the single collisionless tearing mode is proportional to D{sub e}{sup 2}, where D{sub e} is the electron skin depth. On the other hand, the growth rate of a double tearing mode is proportional to D{sub e} in the parameter regime of fusion plasmas.
  8. This is the second in a series of companion papers showing that when an efficient dynamo can be maintained by accretion disks around supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei, it can lead to the formation of a powerful, magnetically driven, and mediated helix that could explain both the observed radio jet/lobe structures and ultimately the enormous power inferred from the observed ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays. In the first paper, we showed self-consistently that minimizing viscous dissipation in the disk naturally leads to jets of maximum power with boundary conditions known to yield jets as a low-density, magnetically collimated tower, consistentmore » with observational constraints of wire-like currents at distances far from the black hole. In this paper we show that these magnetic towers remain collimated as they grow in length at nonrelativistic velocities. Differences with relativistic jet models are explained by three-dimensional magnetic structures derived from a detailed examination of stability properties of the tower model, including a broad diffuse pinch with current profiles predicted by a detailed jet solution outside the collimated central column treated as an electric circuit. We justify our model in part by the derived jet dimensions in reasonable agreement with observations. Using these jet properties, we also discuss the implications for relativistic particle acceleration in nonrelativistically moving jets. The appendices justify the low jet densities yielding our results and speculate how to reconcile our nonrelativistic treatment with general relativistic MHD simulations.« less
  9. Cited by 5

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