On the Role of Mode Resonances in Regulating Zonal-Flow-Moderated Plasma Microturbulence

TitleOn the Role of Mode Resonances in Regulating Zonal-Flow-Moderated Plasma Microturbulence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsP.Y. Li, M.J. Pueschel, P.W. Terry, G.G. Whelan
JournalNuclear Fusion

The onset of turbulent heat transport at a higher temperature gradient than the critical gradient of linear instability, known as the Dimits shift, is a recurring feature of nonlinear simulations for magnetically confined fusion plasmas. Resonance in the nonlinear coupling between the modes that dominate energy transfer can lead to suppression of turbulence and transport above the linear critical gradient. As an expression of this resonance, gyrokinetic simulations show a quasi-coherent interaction between streamers and sidebands coupled through the zonal flow within the Dimits regime. This mechanism is further confirmed by use of artificial complex frequencies which break the resonance. By incorporating corresponding saturation physics, the standard quasilinear model for rapid head flux prediction is improved, which can now predict reduced heat flux in the Dimits regime. In particular, the triplet correlation time, the lifetime of the nonlinear interaction, is shown to be well approximated by combinations of linear eigenvalues, and yields good representations of the heat flux variation both in and above the Dimits regime. Thus, a reduced but predictive model for transport near the critical gradient of zonal-flow saturated turbulence now exists.







Alternate TitleNucl. Fusion

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