Since the first H-mode discharges in 2010, the duration of the H-mode state has been extended and a significantly wider operational window of plasma parameters has been attained. Using a second neutral beam (NB) source and improved tuning of equilibrium configuration with real-time plasma control, a stored energy of Wtot ∼ 450 kJ has been achieved with a corresponding energy confinement time of τE ∼ 163 ms. Recent discharges, produced in the fall of 2012, have reached plasma βN up to 2.9 and surpassed the n = 1 ideal no-wall stability limit computed for H-mode pressure profiles, which is one of the key threshold parameters defining advanced tokamak operation. Typical H-mode discharges were operated with a plasma current of 600 kA at a toroidal magnetic field BT = 2 T. L-H transitions were obtained with 0.8-3.0 MW of NB injection power in both single- and double-null configurations, with H-mode durations up to ∼15 s at 600 kA of plasma current. The measured power threshold as a function of line-averaged density showed a roll-over with a minimum value of ∼0.8 MW at . Several edge-localized mode (ELM) control techniques during H-mode were examined with successful results including resonant magnetic perturbation, supersonic molecular beam injection (SMBI), vertical jogging and electron cyclotron current drive injection into the pedestal region. We observed various ELM responses, i.e. suppression or mitigation, depending on the relative phase of in-vessel control coil currents. In particular, with the 90° phase of the n = 1 RMP as the most resonant configuration, a complete suppression of type-I ELMs was demonstrated. In addition, fast vertical jogging of the plasma column was also observed to be effective in ELM pace-making. SMBI-mitigated ELMs, a state of mitigated ELMs, were sustained for a few tens of ELM periods. A simple cellular automata ('sand-pile') model predicted that shallow deposition near the pedestal foot induced small-sized high-frequency ELMs, leading to the mitigation of large ELMs. In addition to the ELM control experiments, various physics topics were explored focusing on ITER-relevant physics issues such as the alteration of toroidal rotation caused by both electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH) and externally applied 3D fields, and the observed rotation drop by ECRH in NB-heated plasmas was investigated in terms of either a reversal of the turbulence-driven residual stress due to the transition of ion temperature gradient to trapped electron mode turbulence or neoclassical toroidal viscosity (NTV) torque by the internal kink mode. The suppression of runaway electrons using massive gas injection of deuterium showed that runaway electrons were avoided only below 3 T in KSTAR. Operation in 2013 is expected to routinely exceed the n = 1 ideal MHD no-wall stability boundary in the long-pulse H-mode (10 s) by applying real-time shaping control, enabling n = 1 resistive wall mode active control studies. In addition, intensive works for ELM mitigation, ELM dynamics, toroidal rotation changes by both ECRH and NTV variations, have begun in the present campaign, and will be investigated in more detail with profile measurements of different physical quantities by techniques such as electron cyclotron emission imaging, charge exchange spectroscopy, Thomson scattering and beam emission spectroscopy diagnostics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics