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Overview of mast results

Counsell, G.F. and Akers, R.J. and Appel, L.C. and Applegate, D. and Axon, K.B. and Baranov, Y. and Brickley, C. and Bunting, C. and Foster, A. (2005) Overview of mast results. Nuclear Fusion, 45 (10). S157-S167. ISSN 0029-5515

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Significant progress has been made on the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak (MAST) towards a fundamental understanding of transport, stability and edge physics and addressing technological issues for future large devices. Collaborative studies of the L-H transition with NSTX and ASDEX Upgrade confirm that operation in a connected double-null configuration significantly reduces the threshold power, Pthr. The MAST data provide support for a theory for the transition based on finite β drift wave turbulence suppression by self-generated zonal flows. Analysis of low and high field side density gradients in the H-mode pedestal provides support for an analytical model of the density pedestal width dependent on the neutral penetration depth. Adding MAST data to international confinement databases has enhanced confidence in scalings for ITER by significantly expanding the range of β and ε explored and indicates a slightly stronger ε dependence than in current scalings. Studies of core transport have been conducted for well-diagnosed L-mode, H-mode and internal transport barrier (ITB) discharges using TRANSP, and microstability and turbulence studies have been carried out using GS2. Linear micro-stability analysis indicates that ITG modes are typically unstable on all flux surfaces with growth rates that are comparable to the equilibrium E × B flow shearing rate. Mixing length estimates of transport coefficients from ITG (neglecting flow shear) give diffusion coefficients that are broadly comparable with observed thermal diffusivities. Non-linear, collisionless ETG calculations have been performed and suggest radially extended electrostatic streamers up to 100ρe across in radius. Transport from ITG could easily be suppressed in regions where the E × B shear flow rate, ωSE, exceeds the ITG growth rate, possibly contributing to ITBs. Toroidal rotation, driven by neutral beam torque, is the dominant contribution to ωSE via the vBθ term in the radial electric field. Early edge localized mode activity on MAST is associated with the formation of narrow filamentary structures following field lines in the edge. These filaments rotate toroidally with the edge plasma and, away from the X-points, accelerate radially outwards from the edge up to 20 cm. Studies of disruptions on MAST demonstrate a complex evolution of core energy loss and resultant divertor power loads, including phases where the target heat flux width is broadened by a factor of 8. Observations of energetic particle modes driven by super-Alfvénic beam ions provide support for a model for the non-linear evolution of toroidal Alfvén eigenmodes (AEs) forming Bernstein-Green-Krushal waves. The AE activity reduces to low levels with increasing β. Plasma start-up without a central solenoid and in a manner compatible with future large spherical tokamak (ST) devices has been demonstrated using breakdown at a quadrupole magnetic null. Closed flux surface plasmas with peak plasma currents up to 370 kA have been generated and sustained for 0.3 s. New error field correction coils have extended the operational space for low density plasmas and enabled scaling studies of error field induced locked mode formation in the ST.