# Publications by Felix Parra Diaz

## Impact of main ion pressure anisotropy on stellarator impurity transport

Nuclear Fusion IOP Publishing (2019)

Main ions influence impurity dynamics through a variety of mechanisms; in particular, via impurity-ion collisions. To lowest order in an expansion in the main ion mass over the impurity mass, the impurity-ion collision operator only depends on the component of the main ion distribution that is odd in the parallel velocity. These lowest order terms give the parallel friction of the impurities with the main ions, which is typically assumed to be the main cause of collisional impurity transport. Next-order terms in the mass ratio expansion of the impurity-ion collision operator, proportional to the component of the main ion distribution that is even in the parallel velocity, are usually neglected. However, in stellarators, the even component of the main ion distribution can be very large. In this article, such next-order terms in the mass ratio expansion of the impurity-ion collision operator are retained, and analytical expressions for the neoclassical radial flux of trace impurities are calculated in the Pfirsch-Schl\"uter, plateau and $1/\nu$ regimes. The new terms provide a drive for impurity transport that is physically very different from parallel friction: they are associated to anisotropy in the pressure of the main ions, which translates into impurity pressure anisotropy. It is argued that main ion pressure anisotropy must be taken into account for a correct description of impurity transport in certain realistic stellarator plasmas. Examples are given by numerically evaluating the analytical expressions for the impurity flux.

## Dependence on ion temperature of shallow-angle magnetic presheaths with adiabatic electrons

Journal of Plasma Physics Cambridge University Press **85** (2019) 795850601

The magnetic presheath is a boundary layer occurring when magnetized plasma is in contact with a wall and the angle α between the wall and the magnetic field B is oblique. Here, we consider the fusion-relevant case of a shallow-angle, α 1, electron-repelling sheath, with the electron density given by a Boltzmann distribution, valid for α/√τ + 1 √me/mi, where me is the electron mass, mi is the ion mass, τ = Ti/ZTe,Te is the electron temperature, Ti is the ion temperature and Z is the ionic charge state. The thickness of the magnetic presheath is of the order of a few ion sound Larmor radii ρs = √mi(ZTe + Ti)/ZeB, where e is the proton charge and B = |B| is the magnitude of the magnetic field. We study the dependence on τ of the electrostatic potential and ion distribution function in the magnetic presheath by using a set of prescribed ion distribution functions at the magnetic presheath entrance, parameterized by τ . The kinetic model is shown to be asymptotically equivalent to Chodura’s fluid model at small ion temperature, τ 1, for |ln α| > 3|ln τ | 1. In this limit, despite the fact that fluid equations give a reasonable approximation to the potential, ion gyroorbits acquire a spatial extent that occupies a large portion of the magnetic presheath. At large ion temperature, τ 1, relevant because Ti is measured to be a few times larger than Te near divertor targets of fusion devices, ions reach the Debye sheath entrance (and subsequently the wall) at a shallow angle whose size is given by √α or 1/√τ, depending on which is largest.

## Overview of new MAST physics in anticipation of first results from MAST Upgrade

Nuclear Fusion IOP Science **59** (2019) 112011

The mega amp spherical tokamak (MAST) was a low aspect ratio device (R/a = 0.85/0.65 ~ 1.3) with similar poloidal cross-section to other medium-size tokamaks. The physics programme concentrates on addressing key physics issues for the operation of ITER, design of DEMO and future spherical tokamaks by utilising high resolution diagnostic measurements closely coupled with theory and modelling to significantly advance our understanding. An empirical scaling of the energy confinement time that favours higher power, lower collisionality devices is consistent with gyrokinetic modelling of electron scale turbulence. Measurements of ion scale turbulence with beam emission spectroscopy and gyrokinetic modelling in up-down symmetric plasmas find that the symmetry of the turbulence is broken by flow shear. Near the non-linear stability threshold, flow shear tilts the density fluctuation correlation function and skews the fluctuation amplitude distribution. Results from fast particle physics studies include the observation that sawteeth are found to redistribute passing and trapped fast particles injected from neutral beam injectors in equal measure, suggesting that resonances between the m = 1 perturbation and the fast ion orbits may be playing a dominant role in the fast ion transport. Measured D–D fusion products from a neutron camera and a charged fusion product detector are 40% lower than predictions from TRANSP/NUBEAM, highlighting possible deficiencies in the guiding centre approximation. Modelling of fast ion losses in the presence of resonant magnetic perturbations (RMPs) can reproduce trends observed in experiments when the plasma response and charge-exchange losses are accounted for. Measurements with a neutral particle analyser during merging-compression start-up indicate the acceleration of ions and electrons. Transport at the plasma edge has been improved through reciprocating probe measurements that have characterised a geodesic acoustic mode at the edge of an ohmic L-mode plasma and particle-in-cell modelling has improved the interpretation of plasma potential estimates from ball-pen probes. The application of RMPs leads to a reduction in particle confinement in L-mode and H-mode and an increase in the core ionization source. The ejection of secondary filaments following type-I ELMs correlates with interactions with surfaces near the X-point. Simulations of the interaction between pairs of filaments in the scrape-off layer suggest this results in modest changes to their velocity, and in most cases can be treated as moving independently. A stochastic model of scrape-off layer profile formation based on the superposition of non-interacting filaments is in good agreement with measured time-average profiles. Transport in the divertor has been improved through fast camera imaging, indicating the presence of a quiescent region devoid of filament near the X-point, extending from the separatrix to ψ n ~ 1.02. Simulations of turbulent transport in the divertor show that the angle between the divertor leg on the curvature vector strongly influences transport into the private flux region via the interchange mechanism. Coherence imaging measurements show counter-streaming flows of impurities due to gas puffing increasing the pressure on field lines where the gas is ionised. MAST Upgrade is based on the original MAST device, with substantially improved capabilities to operate with a Super-X divertor to test extended divertor leg concepts. SOLPS-ITER modelling predicts the detachment threshold will be reduced by more than a factor of 2, in terms of upstream density, in the Super-X compared with a conventional configuration and that the radiation front movement is passively stabilised before it reaches the X-point. 1D fluid modelling reveals the key role of momentum and power loss mechanisms in governing detachment onset and evolution. Analytic modelling indicates that long legs placed at large major radius, or equivalently low at the target compared with the X-point are more amenable to external control. With MAST Upgrade experiments expected in 2019, a thorough characterisation of the sources of the intrinsic error field has been carried out and a mitigation strategy developed.

## stella: An operator-split, implicit-explicit delta f-gyrokinetic code for general magnetic field configurations

JOURNAL OF COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS **391** (2019) 365-380

## stella: an operator-split, implicit-explicit δf-gyrokinetic code for general magnetic field configurations

Journal of Computational Physics Elsevier **391** (2019) 365-380

Here we present details of an operator-split, implicit-explicit numerical scheme for the solution of the gyrokinetic-Poisson system of equations in the local limit. This scheme has been implemented in a new code called stella, which is capable of evolving electrostatic fluctuations with full kinetic electron effects and an arbitrary number of ion species in general magnetic geometry. We demonstrate the advantages of this mixed approach over a fully explicit treatment and provide linear and nonlinear benchmark comparisons for both axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric magnetic equilibria.

## A scale-separated approach for studying coupled ion and electron scale turbulence

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Science **61** (2019) 065025

Multiple space and time scales arise in plasma turbulence in magnetic confinement fusion devices because of the smallness of the square root of the electron-to-ion mass ratio ${\left({m}_{{\rm{e}}}/{m}_{{\rm{i}}}\right)}^{1/2}$ and the consequent disparity of the ion and electron thermal gyroradii and thermal speeds. Direct simulations of this turbulence that include both ion and electron space–time scales indicate that there can be significant interactions between the two scales. The extreme computational expense and complexity of these direct simulations motivates the desire for reduced treatment. By exploiting the scale-separation between ion scales (IS) and electron scales (ES), and expanding the gyrokinetic equations for the turbulence in ${\left({m}_{{\rm{e}}}/{m}_{{\rm{i}}}\right)}^{1/2}$, we derive such a reduced system of gyrokinetic equations that describes cross-scale interactions. The coupled gyrokinetic equations contain novel terms which provide candidate mechanisms for the observed cross-scale interaction. The ES turbulence experiences a modified drive due to gradients in the IS distribution function, and is advected by the IS $E\times B$ drift, which varies in the direction parallel to the magnetic field line. The largest possible cross-scale term in the IS equations is sub-dominant in our ${\left({m}_{{\rm{e}}}/{m}_{{\rm{i}}}\right)}^{1/2}$ expansion. Hence, in our model the IS turbulence evolves independently of the ES turbulence. To complete the scale-separated approach, we provide and justify a parallel boundary condition for the coupled gyrokinetic equations in axisymmetric equilibria based on the standard 'twist-and-shift' boundary condition. This approach allows one to simulate multi-scale turbulence using ES flux tubes nested within an IS flux tube.

## Intrinsic rotation driven by turbulent acceleration

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Publishing (2019)

© 2018 IOP Publishing Ltd. Differential rotation is induced in tokamak plasmas when an underlying symmetry of the governing gyrokinetic-Maxwell system of equations is broken. One such symmetry-breaking mechanism is considered here: the turbulent acceleration of particles along the mean magnetic field. This effect, often referred to as the 'parallel nonlinearity', has been implemented in the δf gyrokinetic code stella and used to study the dependence of turbulent momentum transport on the plasma size and on the strength of the turbulence drive. For JET-like parameters with a wide range of driving temperature gradients, the momentum transport induced by the inclusion of turbulent acceleration is similar to or smaller than the ratio of the ion Larmor radius to the plasma minor radius. This low level of momentum transport is explained by demonstrating an additional symmetry that prohibits momentum transport when the turbulence is driven far above marginal stability.

## Stellarator impurity flux driven by electric fields tangent to magnetic surfaces

Nuclear Fusion IOP Publishing **58** (2018)

The control of impurity accumulation is one of the main challenges for future stellarator fusion reactors. The standard argument to explain this accumulation relies on the, in principle, large inward pinch in the neoclassical impurity flux caused by the typically negative radial electric field in stellarators. This simplified interpretation was proven to be flawed by Helander et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 155002 (2017)], who showed that in a relevant regime (low-collisionality main ions and collisional impurities) the radial electric field does not drive impurity transport. In that reference, the effect of the component of the electric field that is tangent to the magnetic surface was not included. In this Letter, an analytical calculation of the neoclassical radial impurity flux incorporating such effect is given, showing that it can be very strong for highly charged impurities and that, once it is taken into account, the dependence of the impurity flux on the radial electric field reappears. Realistic examples are provided in which the inclusion of the tangential electric field leads to impurity expulsion.

## Solution to a collisionless shallow-angle magnetic presheath with kinetic ions

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Publishing (2018)

Using a kinetic model for the ions and adiabatic electrons, we solve a steady state, electron-repelling magnetic presheath in which a uniform magnetic field makes a small angle $\alpha \ll 1$ (in radians) with the wall. The presheath characteristic thickness is the typical ion gyroradius $\rho_{\text{i}}$. The Debye length $\lambda_{\text{D}}$ and the collisional mean free path of an ion $\lambda_{\text{mfp}}$ satisfy the ordering $\lambda_{\text{D}} \ll \rho_{\text{i}} \ll \alpha \lambda_{\text{mfp}}$, so a quasineutral and collisionless model is used. We assume that the electrostatic potential is a function only of distance from the wall, and it varies over the scale $\rho_{\text{i}}$. Using the expansion in $\alpha \ll 1$, we derive an analytical expression for the ion density that only depends on the ion distribution function at the entrance of the magnetic presheath and the electrostatic potential profile. Importantly, we have added the crucial contribution of the orbits in the region near the wall. By imposing the quasineutrality equation, we derive a condition that the ion distribution function must satisfy at the magnetic presheath entrance --- the kinetic equivalent of the Chodura condition. Using an ion distribution function at the entrance of the magnetic presheath that satisfies the kinetic Chodura condition, we find numerical solutions for the self-consistent electrostatic potential, ion density and flow across the magnetic presheath for several values of $\alpha$. Our numerical results also include the distribution of ion velocities at the Debye sheath entrance. We find that at small values of $\alpha$ there are substantially fewer ions travelling with a large normal component of the velocity into the wall.

## Electrostatic potential variations on stellarator magnetic surfaces in low collisionality regimes

Journal of Plasma Physics Cambridge University Press **84** (2018) 905840407-

The component of the neoclassical electrostatic potential that is non-constant on the magnetic surface, that we denote by $\tilde\varphi$, can affect radial transport of highly charged impurities, and this has motivated its inclusion in some modern neoclassical codes. The number of neoclassical simulations in which $\tilde\varphi$ is calculated is still scarce, partly because they are usually demanding in terms of computational resources, especially at low collisionality. In this paper the size, the scaling with collisionality and with aspect ratio, and the structure of $\tilde\varphi$ on the magnetic surface are analytically derived in the $1/\nu$, $\sqrt{\nu}$ and superbanana-plateau regimes of stellarators close to omnigeneity; i. e. stellarators that have been optimized for neoclassical transport. It is found that the largest $\tilde\varphi$ that the neoclassical equations admit scales linearly with the inverse aspect ratio and with the size of the deviation from omnigeneity. Using a model for a perturbed omnigeneous configuration, the analytical results are verified and illustrated with calculations by the code KNOSOS. The techniques, results and numerical tools employed in this paper can be applied to neoclassical transport problems in tokamaks with broken axisymmetry.

## Large tangential electric fields in plasmas close to temperature screening

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Publishing **60** (2018) 074004

Low collisionality stellarator plasmas usually display a large negative radial electric field that has been expected to cause accumulation of impurities due to their high charge number. In this paper, two combined effects that can potentially modify this scenario are discussed. First, it is shown that, in low collisionality plasmas, the kinetic contribution of the electrons to the radial electric field can make it negative but small, bringing the plasma close to impurity temperature screening (i.e., to a situation in which the ion temperature gradient is the main drive of impurity transport and causes outward flux); in plasmas of very low collisionality, such as those of the large helical device displaying impurity hole (Ida et al (The LHD Experimental Group) 2009 Phys. Plasmas 16 056111; Yoshinuma et al (The LHD Experimental Group) 2009 Nucl. Fusion 49 062002), screening may actually occur. Second, the component of the electric field that is tangent to the flux surface (in other words, the variation of the electrostatic potential on the flux surface), although smaller than the radial component, has recently been suggested to be an additional relevant drive for radial impurity transport. Here, it is explained that, especially when the radial electric field is small, the tangential magnetic drift has to be kept in order to correctly compute the tangential electric field, that can be larger than previously expected. This can have a strong impact on impurity transport, as we illustrate by means of simulations using the newly developed code kinetic orbit-averaging-solver for stellarators, although it is not enough to explain by itself the behavior of the fluxes in situations like the impurity hole.

## Optimized up-down asymmetry to drive fast intrinsic rotation in tokamaks

Nuclear Fusion Institute of Physics **58** (2017) 026003-

Breaking the up-down symmetry of the tokamak poloidal cross-section can significantly increase the spontaneous rotation due to turbulent momentum transport. In this work, we optimize the shape of flux surfaces with both tilted elongation and tilted triangularity in order to maximize this drive of intrinsic rotation. Nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations demonstrate that adding optimally-tilted triangularity can double the momentum transport of a tilted elliptical shape. This work indicates that tilting the elongation and triangularity in an ITER-like device can reduce the energy transport and drive intrinsic rotation with an Alfv\'{e}n Mach number on the order of $1\%$. This rotation is four times larger than the rotation expected in ITER and is sufficient to stabilize MHD instabilities. It is shown that this optimal shape can be created using the shaping coils of several experiments.

## Effects of misaligning the probe beam and magnetic field in Doppler backscattering measurements

45th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics, EPS 2018 **2018-July** (2018) 1436-1439

## Ion-scale turbulence in MAST: anomalous transport, subcritical transitions, and comparison to BES measurements

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Institute of Physics **59** (2017) 114003-

We investigate the effect of varying the ion temperature gradient (ITG) and toroidal equilibrium scale sheared flow on ion-scale turbulence in the outer core of MAST by means of local gyrokinetic simulations. We show that nonlinear simulations reproduce the experimental ion heat flux and that the experimentally measured values of the ITG and the flow shear lie close to the turbulence threshold. We demonstrate that the system is subcritical in the presence of flow shear, i.e., the system is formally stable to small perturbations, but transitions to a turbulent state given a large enough initial perturbation. We propose that the transition to subcritical turbulence occurs via an intermediate state dominated by low number of coherent long-lived structures, close to threshold, which increase in number as the system is taken away from the threshold into the more strongly turbulent regime, until they fill the domain and a more conventional turbulence emerges. We show that the properties of turbulence are effectively functions of the distance to threshold, as quantified by the ion heat flux. We make quantitative comparisons of correlation lengths, times, and amplitudes between our simulations and experimental measurements using the MAST BES diagnostic. We find reasonable agreement of the correlation properties, most notably of the correlation time, for which significant discrepancies were found in previous numerical studies of MAST turbulence.

## Overview of recent physics results from MAST

Nuclear Fusion Institute of Physics **57** (2017) 102007-

New results from MAST are presented that focus on validating models in order to extrapolate to future devices. Measurements during start-up experiments have shown how the bulk ion temperature rise scales with the square of the reconnecting field. During the current ramp-up, models are not able to correctly predict the current diffusion. Experiments have been performed looking at edge and core turbulence. At the edge, detailed studies have revealed how filament characteristics are responsible for determining the near and far scrape off layer density profiles. In the core the intrinsic rotation and electron scale turbulence have been measured. The role that the fast ion gradient has on redistributing fast ions through fishbone modes has led to a redesign of the neutral beam injector on MAST Upgrade. In H-mode the turbulence at the pedestal top has been shown to be consistent with being due to electron temperature gradient modes. A reconnection process appears to occur during edge localized modes (ELMs) and the number of filaments released determines the power profile at the divertor. Resonant magnetic perturbations can mitigate ELMs provided the edge peeling response is maximised and the core kink response minimised. The mitigation of intrinsic error fields with toroidal mode number n > 1 has been shown to be important for plasma performance.

## Overview of progress in European medium sized tokamaks towards an integrated plasma-edge/wall solution

NUCLEAR FUSION **57** (2017) ARTN 102014

## Electromagnetic zonal flow residual responses

Journal of Plasma Physics Cambridge University Press **83** (2017) 1-38

The collisionless axisymmetric zonal flow residual calculation for a tokamak plasma is generalized to include electromagnetic perturbations. We formulate and solve the complete initial value zonal flow problem by retaining the fully self-consistent axisymmetric spatial perturbations in the electric and magnetic fields. Simple expressions for the electrostatic, shear and compressional magnetic residual responses are derived that provide a fully electromagnetic test of the zonal flow residual in gyrokinetic codes. Unlike the electrostatic potential, the parallel vector potential and the parallel magnetic field perturbations need not relax to flux functions for all possible initial conditions.

## Observation of oscillatory radial electric field relaxation in a helical plasma

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society **118** (2017) 185002

Measurements of the relaxation of a zonal electrostatic potential perturbation in a non-axisymmetric magnetically confined plasma are presented. A sudden perturbation of the plasma equilibrium is induced by the injection of a cryogenic hydrogen pellet in the TJ-II stellarator, which is observed to be followed by a damped oscillation in the electrostatic potential. The waveform of the relaxation is consistent with theoretical calculations of zonal potential relaxation in a non-axisymmetric magnetic geometry. The turbulent transport properties of a magnetic confinement configuration are expected to depend on the features of the collisionless damping of zonal flows, of which the present letter is the first direct observation.

## The effect of tangential drifts on neoclassical transport in stellarators close to omnigeneity

PLASMA PHYSICS AND CONTROLLED FUSION **59** (2017) ARTN 055014