Rational surfaces, flows and radial structure in the TJ-II stellarator

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In this work, we report on the results obtained by measuring several turbulent quantities well inside the plasma edge by means of a Langmuir probe during dynamical rotational transform scans in the TJ-II stellarator, while applying a radial electric field to the edge plasma using a biasing probe. By calculating the intermittence parameter from floating potential measurements, we are able to identify a major low order rational surface and hence relate the probe measurements to the local value of the rotational transform. Based on the former, we are able to show that the poloidal plasma velocity (and hence radial electric field) has a significant radial structure that is clearly related to the rotational transform profile and in particular the lowest order rational surfaces in the range studied. The poloidal velocity is also affected by the edge biasing. The particle flux was also found to exhibit a radial pattern, as did the flow shear suppression term wExB1, but the relation of the former to the low-order rational surfaces was less clear. We surmise that this lack of direct correspondence is due to an unknown term in the turbulence evolution equation: the instability growth rate, y. We make use of a reduced Magnetohydrodynamic turbulence model to interpret the results. Overall, a picture is obtained in which the plasma self-organizes towards a state with a clear radial pattern of the radial electric field, in line with expectations from some numerical studies describing the spontaneous formation of an E x B staircase, consisting of alternating layers with fast and slow radial transport. In this state, the radial profiles of various quantities (density, temperature, pressure) will not be smooth.
Stellarator, Transport, Turbulence, E X B staircase
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van Milligen, B., Voldiner, I., Carreras, B., García, L., & Ochando, M. (2022). Rational surfaces, flows and radial structure in the TJ-II stellarator. Nuclear Fusion, 63(1), 016027.