Z. Lin, Y. Xiao, I. Holod, W. Zhang, W. Deng, S. Klasky, J. Lofstead, C. Kamath and N. Wichmann
Journal of Physics: Conference Series 180, 012059 (2009)
Electron transport in burning plasmas is more important since fusion products first heat electrons. First-principles simulations of electron turbulence are much more challenging due to the multi-scale dynamics of the electron turbulence, and have been made possible by close collaborations between plasma physicists and computational scientists. The GTC simulations of collisionless trapped electron mode (CTEM) turbulence show that the electron heat transport exhibits a gradual transition from Bohm to gyroBohm scaling when the device size is increased. The deviation from the gyroBohm scaling can be induced by large turbulence eddies, turbulence spreading, and non-diffusive transport processes. Analysis of radial correlation function shows that CTEM turbulence eddies are predominantly microscopic but with a significant tail in the mesoscale. A comprehensive analysis of kinetic and fluid time scales shows that zonal flow shearing is the dominant decorrelation mechanism. The mesoscale eddies result from a dynamical process of linear streamers breaking by zonal flows and merging of microscopic eddies. The radial profile of the electron heat conductivity only follows the profile of fluctuation intensity on a global scale, whereas the ion transport tracks more sensitively the local fluctuation intensity. This suggests the existence of a nondiffusive component in the electron heat flux, which arises from the ballistic radial E X B drift of trapped electrons due to a combination of the presence of mesoscale eddies and the weak de-tuning of the toroidal precessional resonance that drives the CTEM instability. On the other hand, the ion radial excursion is not affected by the mesoscale eddies due to a parallel decorrelation, which is not operational for the trapped electrons because of a bounce averaging process associated with the electron fast motion along magnetic field lines. The presence of the nondiffusive component raises question on the applicability of the usual quasilinear theory for the CTEM electron transport. This is in contrast to the good agreement between the quasilinear transport theory and simulation results of the electron heat transport in electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence, which is regulated by a wave-particle decorrelation. Therefore, the transport in the CTEM turbulence is a fluid-like eddy mixing process even though the linear CTEM instability is driven by a kinetic resonance. In contrast, a kinetic process dominates the transport in the ETG turbulence, which is characterized by macroscopic streamers.