As the pressure in our fusion plasma increases, the plasma develops the ability to alter the makeup of the magnetic field that contains it. Some of these alterations are helpful and actually improve containment (see bootstrap current). Other alterations are not so helpful, and that’s why you’ll often hear researchers exclaim “tearing modes!” in the control room (of any device).
In this research highlight, Laszlo Bardoczi, Nathan Richner, and Nik Logan analyzed data from thousands of DIII-D plasma shots to better understand how the tearing mode instability presents itself in high-performance scenarios. They found that the classical description of tearing mode onset is not consistent with the mode trends in this large data set. Furthermore, they show that the mode onset rate increases with plasma efficiency, showing that higher fidelity modeling is necessary to understand the appearance and detrimental effects of these modes in fusion power plants.
This work came together through the combined efforts of a professor from UC Irvine (by way of General Atomics), postdoctoral scholar from Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and a staff researcher from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
L. Bardóczi, N.J. Richner, and N.C. Logan, Nuclear Fusion 63, 126052 (2023), https://doi.org/10.1088/1741-4326/ad0488
#fusionenergy #statistics #plasma