A degradation of heating efficiency was observed during high harmonic fast wave (HHFW) heating of spherical tokamak plasmas when parametric decay instability (PDI) occurred. Suppression of PDI is necessary to make HHFW a reliable heating and current drive tool in high β plasmas. In order to understand PDI, measurements were made using a radially movable electrostatic probe (ion saturation current and floating potential), arrays of RF magnetic probes distributed both toroidally and poloidally, microwave reflectometry and fast optical diagnostics in TST-2. The frequency spectrum usually exhibits ion-cyclotron harmonic sidebands f0 nfci and low-frequency ion-cyclotron quasi-modes (ICQMs) nfci. PDI becomes stronger at lower densities, and much weaker when the plasma is far away from the antenna. The lower sideband power was found to increase quadratically with the local pump wave power. The lower sideband power relative to the local pump wave power was larger for reflectometer compared with either electrostatic or magnetic probes. The radial decay of the pump wave amplitude in the SOL was much faster for the ion saturation current than for the floating potential. These results are consistent with the HHFW pump wave decaying into the HHFW or ion Bernstein wave (IBW) sideband and the low-frequency (ICQM). Two additional peaks were discovered between the fundamental lower sideband and the pump wave in hydrogen plasmas. The frequency differences of these peaks from the pump wave increase with the magnetic field. These decay modes may involve molecular ions or partially ionized impurity ions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics