Disruption avoidance by means of electron cyclotron waves

B. Esposito, G. Granucci, M. Maraschek, S. Nowak, E. Lazzaro, L. Giannone, A. Gude, V. Igochine, R. McDermott, E. Poli, M. Reich, F. Sommer, J. Stober, W. Suttrop, W. Treutterer, H. Zohm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Disruptions are very challenging to ITER operation as they may cause damage to plasma facing components due to direct plasma heating, forces on structural components due to halo and eddy currents and the production of runaway electrons. Electron cyclotron (EC) waves have been demonstrated as a tool for disruption avoidance by a large set of recent experiments performed in ASDEX Upgrade and FTU using various disruption types, plasma operating scenarios and power deposition locations. The technique is based on the stabilization of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modes (mainly m/n = 2/1) through the localized injection of EC power on the resonant surface. This paper presents new results obtained in ASDEX Upgrade regarding stable operation above the Greenwald density achieved after avoidance of density limit disruptions by means of ECRH and suitable density feedback control (L-mode ohmic plasmas, I p = 0.6 MA, B t = 2.5 T) and NTM-driven disruptions at high-β limit delayed/avoided by means of both co-current drive (co-ECCD) and pure heating (ECRH) with power ≤1.7 MW (H-mode NBI-heated plasmas, P NBI ∼ 7.5 MW, I p = 1 MA, B t = 2.1 T, q 95 ∼ 3.6). The localized perpendicular injection of ECRH/ECCD onto a resonant surface leads to the delay and/or complete avoidance of disruptions. The experiments indicate the existence of a power threshold for mode stabilization to occur. An analysis of the MHD mode evolution using the generalized Rutherford equation coupled to the frequency and phase evolution equations shows that control of the modes is due to EC heating close to the resonant surface. The ECRH contribution (Δ′ H term) is larger than the co-ECCD one in the initial and more important phase when the discharge is 'saved'. Future research and developments of the disruption avoidance technique are also discussed. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124035
Pages (from-to)-
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Esposito, B., Granucci, G., Maraschek, M., Nowak, S., Lazzaro, E., Giannone, L., Gude, A., Igochine, V., McDermott, R., Poli, E., Reich, M., Sommer, F., Stober, J., Suttrop, W., Treutterer, W., & Zohm, H. (2011). Disruption avoidance by means of electron cyclotron waves. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 53(12), -. [124035]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0741-3335/53/12/124035