Direct measurements of the 3D plasma velocity in single-helical-axis RFP plasmas

J. Boguski, M. D. Nornberg, U. Gupta, K. J. Mccollam, A. F. Almagri, B. E. Chapman, D. Craig, T. Nishizawa, J. S. Sarff, C. R. Sovinec, P. W. Terry, Z. A. Xing

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The first local velocity measurements of helical equilibrium plasmas in the Reversed Field Pinch (RFP) Single Helical Axis (SHAx) state using a Charge Exchange Recombination Spectroscopy (CHERS) diagnostic are presented. Measurements show strong axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric flow, with n = 5 components of flow related to the (m, n) = (1, 5) dominant magnetic mode on the order of the axisymmetric flow in certain regions of the plasma, as well as significant n > 5 flow. Flow measurements are compared with NIMROD simulations of visco-resistive, single-fluid MHD in toroidal and cylindrical geometries with limited axial periodicity. Both measurements and the simulation with toroidal geometry show stronger inboard flows relative to the outboard flows, which is attributed to the toroidal geometry of the device. In the experiment, the n = 5 component of flow is phase shifted from the reconnection-like flow pattern observed in the single-fluid simulations, possibly due to decoupling of the ion and electron fluids over much of the plasma. Finally, the strength of the helical angular flow shear relative to the critical shear necessary to disrupt nonlinear coupling between tearing modes is calculated around the helical magnetic axis. The shear in the measured flow is on the order of the theoretical critical threshold needed to nonlinearly decouple modes, but the measurement uncertainty in the gradient of the flow is large.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012510
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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