Non-linear effects in electron cyclotron current drive applied for the stabilization of neoclassical tearing modes

B. Ayten, E. Westerhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the smallness of the volumes associated with the flux surfaces around the O-point of a magnetic island, the electron cyclotron power density applied inside the island for the stabilization of neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs) can exceed the threshold for non-linear effects as derived previously by Harvey et al (1989 Phys. Rev. Lett. 62 426). We study the non-linear electron cyclotron current drive (ECCD) efficiency through bounce-averaged, quasi-linear Fokker–Planck calculations in the magnetic geometry as created by the islands. The calculations are performed for the parameters of a typical NTM stabilization experiment on ASDEX Upgrade. A particular feature of these experiments is that the rays of the EC wave beam propagate tangential to the flux surfaces in the power deposition region. The calculations show significant non-linear effects on the ECCD efficiency, when the ECCD power is increased from its experimental value of 1 MW to a larger value of 4 MW. The nonlinear effects are largest in the case of locked islands or when the magnetic island rotation period is longer than the collisional time scale. The non-linear effects result in an overall reduction of the current drive efficiency for this case with absorption of the EC power on the low-field side of the electron cyclotron resonance layer. As a consequence of the non-linear effects, also the stabilizing effect of the ECCD on the island is reduced from linear expectations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)073001-1/13
Number of pages13
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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