Recent progress of magnetic reconnection research in the MAST spherical tokamak

H. Tanabe, T. Yamada, T. Watanabe, K. Gi, M. Inomoto, R. Imazawa, M. Gryaznevich, C. Michael, B. Crowley, N. J. Conway, R. Scannell, J. Harrison, I. Fitzgerald, A. Meakins, N. Hawkes, K. G. McClements, T. O'Gorman, C. Z. Cheng, Y. Ono

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Abstract

In the last three years, magnetic reconnection research in the MAST spherical tokamak achieved major progress by the use of new 32 chord ion Doppler tomography and 130 channel YAG and 300 channel Ruby Thomson scattering diagnostics. In addition to the previously achieved high power plasma heating during merging, detailed full temperature profile measurements including the diffusion region have been achieved for the first time. 2D imaging measurements of ion and electron temperature profiles have revealed that magnetic reconnection mostly heats ions globally in the downstream region of outflow jet and electrons locally around the X-point. The toroidal field in MAST "over 0.3T" strongly inhibits cross-field thermal transport, and the characteristic peaked electron temperature profile around the X-point is sustained on a millisecond time scale. In contrast, ions are mostly heated in the downstream region of outflow acceleration and around the stagnation point formed by reconnected flux mostly by viscosity dissipation and shock-like compressional damping of the outflow jet. Toroidal confinement also contributes to the characteristic ion temperature profile, forming a ring structure aligned with the closed flux surface. There is an effective confinement of the downstream thermal energy due to a thick layer of reconnected flux. The characteristic structure is sustained for longer than an ion-electron energy relaxation time (∼4 ms), and the energy exchange between ions and electrons contributes to the bulk electron heating in the downstream region. The toroidal guide field mostly contributes to the formation of a localized electron heating structure around the X-point but not to bulk ion heating downstream.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056108
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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    Tanabe, H., Yamada, T., Watanabe, T., Gi, K., Inomoto, M., Imazawa, R., Gryaznevich, M., Michael, C., Crowley, B., Conway, N. J., Scannell, R., Harrison, J., Fitzgerald, I., Meakins, A., Hawkes, N., McClements, K. G., O'Gorman, T., Cheng, C. Z., & Ono, Y. (2017). Recent progress of magnetic reconnection research in the MAST spherical tokamak. Physics of Plasmas, 24(5), [056108]. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4977922