Numerical modeling of the transition from low to high confinement in magnetically confined plasma

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The transition dynamics from low (L) to high (H) mode confinement in magnetically confined plasmas is investigated using a four-field drift fluid model—HESEL (Hot Edge-Sol-Electrostatic). The model includes profile evolution and is solved in a 2D domain at the out-board mid-plane of a tokamak including both open and closed field lines. The results reveal different types of L–H-like transitions in response to ramping up the input power by increasing the ion temperature in the edge region. For a fast rising input power we obtain an abrupt transition, and for a slow rising power we obtain a L–I–H transition with an intermediate I-phase displaying limit-cycle oscillations (LCO). The model recovers the power threshold for the L–H transition, the scaling of the threshold with the density and with the loss-rate in the SOL, indicating a decrease in power threshold when switching from single to double null configuration. The results hold promises for developing full predictive modeling of the L–H transition, which is an essential step in understanding and optimizing fusion devices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Pages (from-to)014031
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • L–H transition
  • Fluid simulations
  • Braginskii equations
  • Turbulence and flows


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