The coupling between the transport and magnetic topology is an important issue because the structure of magnetic islands, embedded in a toroidal equilibrium field, depends on the nature of the transport at the edge of the islands. Measurements of modulated heat pulse propagation in the DIII-D tokamak have revealed the existence of self-regulated oscillations in the radial energy transport into magnetic islands that are indicative of bifurcations in the island structure and transport near the q = 2 surface. Large amplitude heat pulses are seen in one state followed by small amplitude pulses later in the discharge resulting in a repeating cycle of island states. These two states are interpreted as a bifurcation of magnetic island with high and low heat pulse accessibility. This report describes the discovery of a bifurcation in the coupled dynamics between the transport and topology of magnetic islands in tokamak plasmas.
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