The results of numerical simulations are presented to illustrate the saturation mechanism of a single toroidal number Alfvï¿½n mode, driven unstable, in a tokamak plasma, by the resonant interaction with energetic ions. The effects of equilibrium geometry non-uniformities and finite mode radial width on the wave-particle nonlinear dynamics are discussed. Saturation occurs as the fast-ion density flattening produced by the radial flux associated to the resonant particles captured in the potential well of the Alfvï¿½n wave extends over the whole region where mode-particle power exchange can take place. The occurrence of two different saturation regimes is shown. In the first regime, dubbed resonance detuning, that region is limited by the resonance radial width (that is, the width of the region where the fast-ion resonance frequency matches the mode frequency). In the second regime, called radial decoupling, the power exchange region is limited by the mode radial width. In the former regime, the mode saturation amplitude scales quadratically with the growth rate; in the latter, it scales linearly. The occurrence of one or the other regime can be predicted on the basis of linear dynamics: in particular, the radial profile of the fast-ion resonance frequency and the mode structure. Here, we discuss how such properties can depend on the considered toroidal number and compare simulation results with the predictions obtained from a simplified nonlinear pendulum model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)