Momentum-space structure of relativistic runaway electrons

J.R. Martín-Solís, J.D. Alvarez, R. Sánchez, B. Esposito

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The dynamics of relativistic runaway electrons in tokamak plasmas is analyzed using a test particle description that includes acceleration in the toroidal electric field, collisions with the plasma particles, and deceleration due to synchrotron radiation losses. The region of momentum space in which electron runaway takes place is determined. It is found that relativistic and synchrotron radiation effects lead to a critical electric field ER>(kTe/mec2)ED, below which no runaways are generated. In addition, the trajectories of the test electrons in momentum space show a stable equilibrium point that sets a limit on the energy that the runaway electrons can reach. Analytical expressions are given for this energy limit as a function of the toroidal electric field and plasma parameters. The dominant radiative mechanisms limiting the runaway electron energy are identified in the whole range of electric field values. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2370 - 2377
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Martín-Solís, J. R., Alvarez, J. D., Sánchez, R., & Esposito, B. (1998). Momentum-space structure of relativistic runaway electrons. Physics of Plasmas, 5(6), 2370 - 2377.