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Stellarator microinstabilities and turbulence at low magnetic shear

  • B. J. Faber (a1), M. J. Pueschel (a2), P. W. Terry (a1), C. C. Hegna (a3) and J. E. Roman (a4)...


Gyrokinetic simulations of drift waves in low-magnetic-shear stellarators reveal that simulation domains comprised of multiple turns can be required to properly resolve critical mode structures important in saturation dynamics. Marginally stable eigenmodes important in saturation of ion temperature gradient modes and trapped electron modes in the Helically Symmetric Experiment (HSX) stellarator are observed to have two scales, with the envelope scale determined by the properties of the local magnetic shear and an inner scale determined by the interplay between the local shear and magnetic field-line curvature. Properly resolving these modes removes spurious growth rates that arise for extended modes in zero-magnetic-shear approximations, enabling use of a zero-magnetic-shear technique with smaller simulation domains and attendant cost savings. Analysis of subdominant modes in trapped electron mode (TEM)-driven turbulence reveals that the extended marginally stable modes play an important role in the nonlinear dynamics, and suggests that the properties induced by low magnetic shear may be exploited to provide another route for turbulence saturation.

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