The energy confinement and thermal transport characteristics of net current free plasmas in regimes with much smaller gyroradii and collisionality than previously studied have been investigated in the Large Helical Device (LHD). The inward shifted configuration, which is superior from the point of view of neoclassical transport theory, has revealed a systematic confinement improvement over the standard configuration. Energy confinement times are improved over the International Stellarator Scaling 95 by a factor of 1.6 ± 0.2 for an inward shifted configuration. This enhancement is primarily due to the broad temperature profile with a high edge value. A simple dimensional analysis involving LHD and other medium sized heliotrons yields a strongly gyro-Bohm dependence (τEΩ ∝ ρ*-3.8) of energy confinement times. It should be noted that this result is attributed to a comprehensive treatment of LHD for systematic confinement enhancement and that the medium sized heliotrons have narrow temperature profiles. The core stored energy still indicates a dependence of τEΩ ∝ ρ*-2.6 when data only from LHD are processed. The local heat transport analysis of discharges dimensionally similar except for ρ* suggests that the heat conduction coefficient lies between Bohm and gyro-Bohm in the core and changes towards strong gyro-Bohm in the peripheral region. Since the inward shifted configuration has a geometrical feature suppressing neoclassical transport, confinement improvement can be maintained in the collisionless regime where ripple transport is important. The stiffness of the pressure profile coincides with enhanced transport in the peaked density profile obtained by pellet injection.
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