Characteristics of MHD instabilities and their impacts on plasma confinement are studied in current free plasmas of the Large Helical Device. Spontaneous L-H transition is often observed in high beta plasmas close to 2% at low toroidal fields (Bt ≤ 0.75 T). The stored energy starts to rise rapidly just after the transition accompanying the clear rise in the electron density but quickly saturates due to the growth of the m = 2/n = 3 mode (m and n: poloidal and toroidal mode numbers), the rational surface of which is located in the edge barrier region, and edge localized mode (ELM) like activities having fairly small amplitude but high repetition frequency. Even in low beta plasmas without L-H transitions, ELM-like activities are sometimes induced in high performance plasmas with a steep edge pressure gradient and transiently reduce the stored energy up to 10%. Energetic ion driven MHD modes such as Alfvén eigenmodes (AEs) are studied in a very wide range of characteristic parameters (the averaged beta of energetic ions, (β b∥), and the ratio of energetic ion velocity to the Alfvén velocity, Vb∥/VA), of which range includes all tokamak data. In addition to the observation of toroidicity induced AEs (TAEs), coherent magnetic fluctuations of helicity induced AEs (HAEs) have been detected for the first time in NBI heated plasmas. The transition of a core-localized TAE to a global AE (GAE) is also observed in a discharge with temporal evolution of the rotational transform profile, having a similarity to the phenomenon observed in a reversed shear tokamak. At low magnetic fields, bursting TAEs transiently induce a significant loss of energetic ions, up to 40% of injected beams, but on the other hand play an important role in triggering the formation of transport barriers in the core and edge regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics