Collisionless microinstabilities in stellarators. III. The ion-temperature-gradient mode

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Journal Article

We investigate the linear theory of the ion-temperature-gradient (ITG) mode, with the goal of developing a general understanding that may be applied to stellarators. We highlight the Wendelstein 7X (W7-X) device. Simple fluid and kinetic models that follow closely from existing literature are reviewed and two new first-principle models are presented and compared with results from direct numerical simulation. One model investigates the effect of regions of strong localized shear, which are generic to stellarator equilibria. These “shear spikes” are found to have a potentially significant stabilizing affect on the mode; however, the effect is strongest at short wavelengths perpendicular to the magnetic field, and it is found to be significant only for the fastest growing modes in W7-X. A second model investigates the long-wavelength limit for the case of negligible global magnetic shear. The analytic calculation reveals that the effect of the curvature drive enters at second order in the drift frequency, confirming conventional wisdom that the ITG mode is slab-like at long wavelengths. Using flux tube simulations of a zero-shear W7-X configuration, we observe a close relationship to an axisymmetric configuration at a similar parameter point. It is concluded that scale lengths of the equilibrium gradients constitute a good parameter space to characterize the ITG mode. Thus, to optimize the magnetic geometry for ITG mode stability, it may be fruitful to focus on local parameters, such as the magnitude of bad curvature, connection length, and local shear at locations of bad curvature (where the ITG mode amplitude peaks).

Physics of Plasmas
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