Center for Integrated Simulation of Fusion Relevant RF Actuators

Project Summary

The capability to reliably couple megawatts of radio-frequency (RF) power in the ion-cyclotron, lower-hybrid, and electron-cyclotron ranges of frequencies to magnetically confined fusion plasmas for the purposes of heating and current drive is essential for steady state operation of future reactor options. However, this reliability is presently limited by our understanding of the interaction between the applied RF power and the edge region of a fusion device which consists of a tenuous low-density plasma known as the scrape-off- layer and surrounding material surfaces. A new simulation capability will be developed which will make it possible for the first time ever to answer critical questions relating to how RF power modifies properties of the scrape-off- layer, and how in turn the scrape-off- layer affects the propagation and absorption of RF waves. Our research plan exploits present and upcoming leadership class computing facilities to develop a predictive understanding of the physical processes that affect the optimal coupling of RF power to fusion plasmas and to subsequently design strategies to achieve robust and efficient RF operation. Our team represents a coherent effort whereby tight collaboration between physics, applied mathematics, and computer science expertise enables progress not possible within each discipline alone.