Collisionless microinstabilities in stellarators. II. Numerical simulations

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Journal Article

Microinstabilities exhibit a rich variety of behavior in stellarators due to the many degrees of freedom in the magnetic geometry. It has recently been found that certain stellarators (quasi-isodynamic ones with maximum-J geometry) are partly resilient to trapped-particle instabilities, because fast-bouncing particles tend to extract energy from these modes near marginal stability. In reality, stellarators are never perfectly quasi-isodynamic, and the question thus arises whether they still benefit from enhanced stability. Here, the stability properties of Wendelstein 7-X and a more quasi-isodynamic configuration, QIPC, are investigated numerically and compared with the National Compact Stellarator Experiment and the DIII-D tokamak. In gyrokinetic simulations, performed with the gyrokinetic code GENE in the electrostatic and collisionless approximation, ion-temperature-gradient modes, trapped-electron modes, and mixed-type instabilities are studied. Wendelstein 7-X and QIPC exhibit significantly reduced growth rates for all simulations that include kinetic electrons, and the latter are indeed found to be stabilizing in the energy budget. These results suggest that imperfectly optimized stellarators can retain most of the stabilizing properties predicted for perfect maximum-J configurations.

Physics of Plasmas
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