Extremely low density operation free of error field penetration supports the excitation of trace-level quiescent runaway electron (RE) populations during the flat-top of DIII-D Ohmic discharges. Operation in the quiescent regime allows accurate measurement of all key parameters important to RE excitation, including the internal broadband magnetic fluctuation level. RE onset is characterized and found to be consistent with primary (Dreicer) generation rates. Impurity-free collisional suppression of the RE population is investigated by stepping the late-time main-ion density, until RE decay is observed. The transition from growth to decay is found to occur 3–5 times above the theoretical critical electric field for avalanche growth and is thus indicative of anomalous RE loss. This suggests that suppression of tokamak RE avalanches can be achieved at lower density than previously expected, though extrapolation requires predictive understanding of the RE loss mechanism and magnitude.
Growth and decay of runaway electrons above the critical electric field under quiescent conditions
C. Paz-Soldan, N. W. Eidietis, R. Granetz, E. M. Hollmann, R. A. Moyer, J. C. Wesley, J. Zhang, M. E. Austin, N. A. Crocker, A. Wingen, Y. Zhu; Growth and decay of runaway electrons above the critical electric field under quiescent conditions. Phys. Plasmas 1 February 2014; 21 (2): 022514. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4866912
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