Overview of recent physics results from the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)

J. E. Menard, M. G. Bell, R. E. Bell, S. Bernabei, J. Bialek, T. Biewer, W. Blanchard, J. Boedo, C. E. Bush, M. D. Carter, W. Choe, N. A. Crocker, D. S. Darrow, W. Davis, L. Delgado-Aparicio, S. Diem, C. W. Domier, D. A. D'Ippolito, J. Ferron, A. FieldJ. Foley, E. D. Fredrickson, D. A. Gates, T. Gibney, R. Harvey, R. E. Hatcher, W. Heidbrink, K. W. Hill, J. C. Hosea, T. R. Jarboe, D. W. Johnson, R. Kaita, S. M. Kaye, C. E. Kessel, S. Kubota, H. W. Kugel, J. Lawson, B. P. Leblanc, K. C. Lee, F. M. Levinton, N. C. Luhmann, R. Maingi, R. P. Majeski, J. Manickam, D. K. Mansfield, R. Maqueda, R. Marsala, D. Mastrovito, T. K. Mau, E. Mazzucato, S. S. Medley, H. Meyer, D. R. Mikkelsen, D. Mueller, T. Munsat, J. R. Myra, B. A. Nelson, C. Neumeyer, N. Nishino, M. Ono, H. K. Park, W. Park, S. F. Paul, T. Peebles, M. Peng, C. Phillips, A. Pigarov, R. Pinsker, A. Ram, S. Ramakrishnan, R. Raman, D. Rasmussen, M. Redi, M. Rensink, G. Rewoldt, J. Robinson, P. Roney, A. L. Roquemore, E. Ruskov, P. Ryan, S. A. Sabbagh, H. Schneider, C. H. Skinner, D. R. Smith, A. Sontag, V. Soukhanovskii, T. Stevenson, D. Stotler, B. C. Stratton, D. Stutman, D. Swain, E. Synakowski, Y. Takase, G. Taylor, K. Tritz, A. Von Halle, M. Wade, R. White, J. Wilgen, M. Williams, J. R. Wilson, H. Yuh, L. E. Zakharov, W. Zhu, S. J. Zweben, R. Akers, P. Beiersdorfer, R. Betti, T. Bigelow, M. Bitter, P. Bonoli, C. Bourdelle, C. S. Chang, J. Chrzanowski, L. Dudek, P. C. Efthimion, M. Finkenthal, E. Fredd, G. Y. Fu, A. Glasser, R. J. Goldston, N. L. Greenough, L. R. Grisham, N. Gorelenkov, L. Guazzotto, R. J. Hawryluk, J. Hogan, W. Houlberg, D. Humphreys, F. Jaeger, M. Kalish, S. Krasheninnikov, L. L. Lao, J. Lawrence, J. Leuer, D. Liu, G. Oliaro, D. Pacella, R. Parsells, M. Schaffer, I. Semenov, K. C. Shaing, M. A. Shapiro, K. Shinohara, P. Sichta, X. Tang, R. Vero, M. Walker, W. Wampler

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The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has made considerable progress in advancing the scientific understanding of high performance long-pulse plasmas needed for future spherical torus (ST) devices and ITER. Plasma durations up to 1.6 s (five current redistribution times) have been achieved at plasma currents of 0.7 MA with non-inductive current fractions above 65% while simultaneously achieving βT and βN values of 17% and 5.7 (%m T MA-1), respectively. A newly available motional Stark effect diagnostic has enabled validation of current-drive sources and improved the understanding of NSTX 'hybrid'-like scenarios. In MHD research, ex-vessel radial field coils have been utilized to infer and correct intrinsic EFs, provide rotation control and actively stabilize the n ≤ 1 resistive wall mode at ITER-relevant low plasma rotation values. In transport and turbulence research, the low aspect ratio and a wide range of achievable β in the NSTX provide unique data for confinement scaling studies, and a new microwave scattering diagnostic is being used to investigate turbulent density fluctuations with wavenumbers extending from ion to electron gyro-scales. In energetic particle research, cyclic neutron rate drops have been associated with the destabilization of multiple large toroidal Alfven eigenmodes (TAEs) analogous to the 'sea-of-TAE' modes predicted for ITER, and three-wave coupling processes have been observed for the first time. In boundary physics research, advanced shape control has enabled studies of the role of magnetic balance in H-mode access and edge localized mode stability. Peak divertor heat flux has been reduced by a factor of 5 using an H-mode-compatible radiative divertor, and lithium conditioning has demonstrated particle pumping and results in improved thermal confinement. Finally, non-solenoidal plasma start-up experiments have achieved plasma currents of 160 kA on closed magnetic flux surfaces utilizing coaxial helicity injection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS13
Pages (from-to)S645-S657
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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    Menard, J. E., Bell, M. G., Bell, R. E., Bernabei, S., Bialek, J., Biewer, T., Blanchard, W., Boedo, J., Bush, C. E., Carter, M. D., Choe, W., Crocker, N. A., Darrow, D. S., Davis, W., Delgado-Aparicio, L., Diem, S., Domier, C. W., D'Ippolito, D. A., Ferron, J., ... Wampler, W. (2007). Overview of recent physics results from the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). Nuclear Fusion, 47(10), S645-S657. [S13]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0029-5515/47/10/S13