Overview of recent physics results from the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)

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Menard, J. E. / Bell, M. G. / Bell, R. E. / Bernabei, S. / Bialek, J. / Biewer, T. / Blanchard, W. / Boedo, J. / Bush, C. E. / Carter, M. D. / Choe, W. / Crocker, N. A. / Darrow, D. S. / Davis, W. / Delgado-Aparicio, L. / Diem, S. / Domier, C. W. / D’Ippolito, D. A. / Ferron, J. / Field, A. / Foley, J. / Fredrickson, E. D. / Gates, D. A. / Gibney, T. / Harvey, R. / Hatcher, R. E. / Heidbrink, W. / Hill, K. W. / Hosea, J. C. / Jarboe, T. R. / Johnson, D. W. / Kaita, R. / Kaye, S. M. / Kessel, C. E. / Kubota, S. / Kugel, H. W. / Lawson, J. / LeBlanc, B. P. / Lee, K. C. / Levinton, F. M. / Luhmann, N. C. Jr / Maingi, R. / Majeski, R. P. / Manickam, J. / Mansfield, D. K. / Maqueda, R. / Marsala, R. / Majeski, R. P. / Manickam, J. / Mazzucato, E. / Medley, S. S. / Meyer, H. / Mikkelsen, D. R. / Mueller, D. / Munsat, T. / Myra, J. R. / Nelson, B. A. / Neumeyer, C. / Nishino, N. / Ono, M. / Park, H. K. / Park, W. / Paul, S. F. / Peebles, T. / Peng, M. / Phillips, C. / Pigarov, A. / Pinsker, R. / Ram, A. / Ramakrishnan, S. / Raman, R. / Rasmussen, D. / Redi, M. / Rensink, M. / Rewoldt, G. / Robinson, J. / Roney, P. / Roquemore, A. L. / Ruskov, E. / Ryan, P. / Sabbagh, S. A. / Schneider, H. / Skinner, C. H. / Smith, D. R. / Sontag, A. / Soukhanovskii, V. / Stevenson, T. / Stotler, D. / Stratton, B. C. / Stutman, D. / Swain, D. / Synakowski, E. / Takase, Y. / Taylor, G. / Tritz, K. / Halle, A. von / Wade, M. / White, R. / Wilgen, J. / Williams, M. / Wilson, J. R. / Yuh, H. / Zakharov, L. E. / Zhu, W. / Zweben, S. J. / Akers, R. / Beiersdorfer, P. / Betti, R. / Bigelow, T. / Bitter, M. / Bonoli, P. / Bourdelle, C. / Chang, C. S. / Chrzanowski, J. / Dudek, L. / Efthimion, P. C. / Finkenthal, M. / Fredd, E. / Fu, G. Y. / Glasser, A. / Goldston, R. J. / Greenough, N. L. / Grisham, L. R. / Gorelenkov, N. / Guazzotto, L. / Hawryluk, R. J. / Hogan, J. / Houlberg, W. / Humphreys, D. / Jaeger, F. / Kalish, M. / Krasheninnikov, S. / Lao, L. L. / Lawrence, J. / Leuer, J. / Liu, D. / Oliaro, G. / Pacella, D. / Parsells, R. / Schaffer, M. / Semenov, I. / Shaing, K. C. / Shapiro, M. A. / Shinohara, K. / Sichta, P. / Tang, X. / Vero, R. / Walker, M. / Wampler, W.
Abstract The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has made considerable progress in advancing the scientific understanding of high performance long-pulse plasmas needed for future spherical torus (ST) devices and ITER. Plasma durations up to 1.6 s (five current redistribution times) have been achieved at plasma currents of 0.7MA with non-inductive current fractions above 65% while simultaneously achieving βT and βN values of 17% and 5.7 (%mTMA−1), respectively. A newly available motional Stark effect diagnostic has enabled validation of currentdrive sources and improved the understanding of NSTX ‘hybrid’-like scenarios. In MHD research, ex-vessel radial field coils have been utilized to infer and correct intrinsic EFs, provide rotation control and actively stabilize the n = 1 resistive wall mode at ITER-relevant low plasma rotation values. In transport and turbulence research, the low aspect ratio and a wide range of achievable β in the NSTX provide unique data for confinement scaling studies, and a new microwave scattering diagnostic is being used to investigate turbulent density fluctuations with wavenumbers extending from ion to electron gyro-scales. In energetic particle research, cyclic neutron rate drops have been associated with the destabilization of multiple large toroidal Alfven eigenmodes (TAEs) analogous to the ‘sea-of-TAE’ modes predicted for ITER, and three-wave coupling processes have been observed for the first time. In boundary physics research, advanced shape control has enabled studies of the role of magnetic balance in H-mode access and edge localized mode stability. Peak divertor heat flux has been reduced by a factor of 5 using an H-mode-compatible radiative divertor, and lithium conditioning has demonstrated particle pumping and results in improved thermal confinement. Finally, non-solenoidal plasma start-up experiments have achieved plasma currents of 160 kA on closed magnetic flux surfaces utilizing coaxial helicity injection.

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