Geodesic acoustic modes (GAMs) are ubiquitous oscillatory flow phenomena observed in toroidal magnetic confinement fusion plasmas, such as tokamaks and stellarators. They are recognized as the non-stationary branch of the turbulence driven zonal flows which play a critical regulatory role in cross-field turbulent transport. GAMs are supported by the plasma compressibility due to magnetic geodesic curvature - an intrinsic feature of any toroidal confinement device. GAMs impact the plasma confinement via velocity shearing of turbulent eddies, modulation of transport, and by providing additional routes for energy dissipation. GAMs can also be driven by energetic particles (so-called EGAMs) or even pumped by a variety of other mechanisms, both internal and external to the plasma, opening-up possibilities for plasma diagnosis and turbulence control. In recent years there have been major advances in all areas of GAM research: measurements, theory, and numerical simulations. This review assesses the status of these developments and the progress made towards a unified understanding of the GAM behaviour and its role in plasma confinement. The review begins with tutorial-like reviews of the basic concepts and theory, followed by a series of topic orientated sections covering different aspects of the GAM. The approach adopted here is to present and contrast experimental observations alongside the predictions from theory and numerical simulations. The review concludes with a comprehensive summary of the field, highlighting outstanding issues and prospects for future developments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics