Interaction of external n = 1 magnetic fields with the sawtooth instability in low-q RFX-mod and DIII-D tokamaks

C. Piron, P. Martin, D. Bonfiglio, J. Hanson, N.C. Logan, C. Paz-Soldan, P. Piovesan, F. Turco, J. Bialek, P. Franz, G. Jackson, M.J. Lanctot, G.A. Navratil, M. Okabayashi, E. Strait, D. Terranova, A. Turnbull

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External n = 1 magnetic fields are applied in RFX-mod and DIII-D low safety factor Tokamak plasmas to investigate their interaction with the internal MHD dynamics and in particular with the sawtooth instability. In these experiments the applied magnetic fields cause a reduction of both the sawtooth amplitude and period, leading to an overall stabilizing effect on the oscillations. In RFX-mod sawteeth eventually disappear and are replaced by a stationary m = 1, n = 1 helical equilibrium without an increase in disruptivity. However toroidal rotation is significantly reduced in these plasmas, thus it is likely that the sawtooth mitigation in these experiments is due to the combination of the helically deformed core and the reduced rotation. The former effect is qualitatively well reproduced by nonlinear MHD simulations performed with the PIXIE3D code. The results obtained in these RFX-mod experiments motivated similar ones in DIII-D L-mode diverted Tokamak plasmas at low q95. These experiments succeeded in reproducing the sawtooth mitigation with the approach developed in RFX-mod. In DIII-D this effect is correlated with a clear increase of the n = 1 plasma response, that indicates an enhancement of the coupling to the marginally stable n = 1 external kink, as simulations with the linear MHD code IPEC suggest. A significant rotation braking in the plasma core is also observed in DIII-D. Numerical calculations of the neoclassical toroidal viscosity (NTV) carried out with PENT identify this torque as a possible contributor for this effect.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106012
Pages (from-to)-
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Piron, C., Martin, P., Bonfiglio, D., Hanson, J., Logan, N. C., Paz-Soldan, C., ... Turnbull, A. (2016). Interaction of external n = 1 magnetic fields with the sawtooth instability in low-q RFX-mod and DIII-D tokamaks. Nuclear Fusion, 56(10), -. [106012].