Fast wave heating and current drive in tokamaks

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis concerns heating and current drive in tokamak plasmas using the fast magnetosonic wave in the ion cyclotron range of frequencies. Fast wave heating is a versatile heating method for thermonuclear fusion plasmas and can provide both ion and electron heating and non-inductive current drive. Predicting and interpreting realistic heating scenarios is however difficult due to the coupled evolution of the cyclotron resonant ion velocity distributions and the wave field. The SELFO code, which solves the coupled wave equation and Fokker-Planck equation for cyclotron resonant ion species in a self-consistent manner, has been upgraded to allow the study of more advanced fast wave heating and current drive scenarios in present day experiments and in preparation for the ITER tokamak.Theoretical and experimental studies related to fast wave heating and current drive with emphasis on fast ion effects are presented. Analysis of minority ion cyclotron current drive in ITER indicates that the use of a hydrogen minority rather than the proposed helium-3 minority results in substantially more efficient current drive. The parasitic losses of power to fusion born alpha particles and beam injected ions are concluded to be acceptably low. Experiments performed at the JET tokamak on polychromatic ion cyclotron resonance heating and on fast wave electron current drive are presented and analysed. Polychromatic heating is demonstrated to increase the bulk plasma ion to electron heating ratio, in line with theoretical expectations, but the fast wave electron current drive is found to be severely degraded by parasitic power losses outside of the plasma. A theoretical analysis of parasitic power losses at radio frequency antennas indicates that the losses can be significantly increased in scenarios with low wave damping and with narrow antenna spectra, such as in electron current drive scenarios.