Taming the particle transport in magnetized plasmas via perturbative fields
Wave-particle interactions are ubiquitous in nature and play a fundamental role in astrophysical and fusion plasmas. In solar plasmas, magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) fluctuations are thought to be responsible for the heating of the solar corona and the generation of the solar wind. In magnetically confined fusion (MCF) devices, enhanced particle transport induced by MHD fluctuations can deteriorate the plasma confinement, and also endanger the device integrity. MCF devices are an ideal testbed to verify current models and develop mitigation / protection techniques.
The proposed project paves the way for providing active control techniques to tame the MHD induced particle transport in a fusion plasma. A solid understanding of the interaction between particles and MHD instabilities in the presence of electric fields and plasma currents is required to develop such techniques. This goal will be pursued through innovative diagnosis techniques with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. Combined with state-of-the-art hybrid MHD codes, a deep insight into the underlying physics mechanism will be gained. The outcome of this research project will have a major impact for next-step MCF devices as ground-breaking control techniques for mitigating MHD induced particle transport in magnetized plasmas will be developed.
The project consists of three research lines which follow a bottom-up approach:
(1) Cutting-edge instrumentation, aiming at the new generation of energetic particle and edge current density diagnostics.
(2) Unravel the dynamics of energetic particles, electric fields, edge currents and MHD fluctuations.
(3) From lab to space weather: The developed models will revolutionize our understanding of the observed particle acceleration and transport in the solar corona.
Based on this approach, the project represents a gateway between the fusion, astrophysics and space communities opening new avenues for a common basic understanding.