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Title: Statistical structure of plasma turbulence from BES measurements in MAST and the effect of flow shear
Author: Fox, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 7068
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The suppression of turbulent transport is a key requirement for enabling nuclear fusion to become a viable energy source. One possible route to achieving this suppression is through toroidal flow shear. We investigate the effect that flow shear has on the structure of turbulence by analysing data from both measurements of the fluctuating intensity field using the Beam-Emission-Spectroscopy (BES) diagnostic on the spherical tokamak MAST, as well as from numerical simulations of the fluctuating density field in MAST. We develop a procedure to map from the correlation parameters of the intensity field to the correlation parameters of the density field. This procedure is illustrated using the MAST BES system and the validity of the underlying assumptions is tested on fluctuating density fields generated by direct numerical simulations using the gyrokinetic code GS2. By using this procedure, we demonstrate how, in experiment, the flow shear associated with the differential toroidal rotation of tokamak plasmas breaks an underlying symmetry of the turbulent fluctuations imposed by the up-down symmetry of the magnetic equilibrium. Indeed, in both experimental BES measurements and gyrokinetic simulations, this symmetry breaking in ion-scale turbulence in MAST is shown to manifest itself as a tilt of the spatial correlation function and a finite skew in the distribution of the fluctuating intensity (density) field. The tilt is a statistical expression of the "shearing" of the turbulent structures by the mean flow. The skewness of the distribution is related to the emergence of long-lived density structures in sheared, near-marginal plasma turbulence. The extent to which these effects are pronounced is argued (with the aid of the simulations) to depend on the distance from the non- linear stability threshold. Away from the threshold, the symmetry is effectively restored.
Supervisor: Field, Anthony ; Schekochihin, Alexander Sponsor: Euratom ; RCUK Energy Programme
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tokamak ; Beam Emission Spectroscopy ; Plasma Turbulence