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Alfv$'{e}$n acoustic channel for ion energy in high-beta tokamak plasmas

Bierwage, A.; Aiba, Nobuyuki; Shinohara, Koji

When the plasma beta (ratio of thermal to magnetic pressure) in the core of a tokamak is raised to values of several percent, as required for a thermonuclear fusion reactor, continuous spectra of long-wavelength slow magnetosonic waves enter the frequency band occupied by continuous spectra of shear Alfv$'{e}$n waves. It is found that these two branches can couple strongly, so that Alfv$'{e}$n modes that are resonantly driven by suprathermal ions transfer some of their energy to sound waves. Since sound waves are heavily damped by thermal ion Landau resonances, these results reveal a new energy channel that contributes to the damping of Alfv$'{e}$nic instabilities and the noncollisional heating of bulk ions, with potentially important consequences for confinement and fusion performance.

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Category:Physics, Multidisciplinary

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