Parallel transport modeling of linear divertor simulators with fundamental ion cyclotron heating

A. Kumar, J. F. Caneses-Marin, C. Lau, R. Goulding

The Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX) is a steady state linear device with the goal to perform plasma material interaction (PMI) studies at future fusion reactor relevant conditions. A prototype of MPEX referred as Porto-MPEX is designed to carry out research and development related to source, heating and transport concepts on the planned full MPEX device. The auxiliary heating schemes in MPEX are based on cyclotron resonance heating with radio frequency (RF) waves. Ion cyclotron heating (ICH) and electron cyclotron heating (ECH) in MPEX are used to independently heat the ions and electrons and provide fusion divertor conditions ranging from sheath-limited to fully detached divertor regimes at a material target. A Hybrid Particle-In-Cell code- PICOS++ is developed and applied to understand the plasma parallel transport during ICH heating in MPEX Proto-MPEX to the target. With this tool, evolution of the distribution function of MPEX/Proto-MPEX ions is modeled in the presence of (1) Coulomb collisions, (2) volumetric particle sources and (3) quasi-linear RF-based ICH. The code is benchmarked against experimental data from Proto-MPEX and simulation data from B2.5 EIRENE. The experimental observation of density-drop near the target in Proto-MPEX and MPEX during ICH heating is demonstrated and explained via physics-based arguments using PICOS++ modeling. In fact, the density drops at the target during ICH in Proto-MPEX/MPEX to conserve the flux and to compensate for the increased flow during ICH. Furthermore, sensitivity scans of various plasma parameters with respect to ICH power are performed for MPEX to investigate its role on plasma transport and particle and energy fluxes at the target. Finally, we discuss the pathway to model ECH in MPEX using the Hybrid PIC formulation herein presented for kinetic electrons and fluid ions.

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