Control of sawtooth periods by pulsed ECH/ECCD in the FTU tokamak

S. Nowak, P. Buratti, S. Cirant, B. Esposito, G. Granucci, E. Lazzaro, D. Marocco, C. Sozzi, A.A. Tuccillo, E. Alessi, D. Frigione, G. Pucella, A. Romano, O. Tudisco

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It is well known that fusion plasma operations can be limited in standard scenarios at high β by resistive instabilities, called neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs), which degrade the plasma confinement leading to a loss of plasma energy, and in some cases to disruption. The avoidance of their onset is a very important issue that has been largely investigated in many tokamaks. In particular, it has been shown that these modes, shaped as magnetic islands, can be triggered by finite seed perturbations associated with long sawtooth crashes. The control of the sawtooth periods is then a key step in the physics of plasma confinement in fusion devices: the shortening of these periods can reduce any triggered large seed island below the NTMs' growth threshold allowing maximum β values and high plasma performances to be achieved. A powerful tool for sawtooth control is the use of high localized electron cyclotron heating (ECH) and current drive (ECCD), capable of modifying the plasma current density and effecting the sawtooth period. Modulated ECH and ECCD have been used as triggers of sawtooth crashes to test conditions for an a priori constant sawtooth period. In the FTU high magnetic field compact tokamak (R0 = 0.93 m, a = 0.3 m, B0 = 4-8 T) similar experiments have been performed with an ECRH system of four gyrotrons operating at 140 GHz and delivering 0.5 MW each. Repetitive pulses of EC power from 1 to 2 gyrotrons up to 0.8 MW for 500 ms have been used to investigate the sensitivity of sawtooth periods during long and short EC switching on and off phases in view of a real time EC control system soon to be working in FTU. A new type of locking of the sawtooth periods to the EC modulation has been observed for deposition inside the q = 1 radius for EC on phase smaller than the ohmic period. In this paper, sawtooth period shortening and locking by ECH and co-ECCD inside the q = 1 radius is investigated and reproduced by numeric simulations. © 2014 EURATOM.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033003
Pages (from-to)-
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Nowak, S., Buratti, P., Cirant, S., Esposito, B., Granucci, G., Lazzaro, E., ... Tudisco, O. (2014). Control of sawtooth periods by pulsed ECH/ECCD in the FTU tokamak. Nuclear Fusion, 54(3), -. [033003].