A detailed understanding of island seeding is crucial to avoid neoclassical tearing modes and their negative consequences like confinement degradation and disruptions. In the present work, we investigate the growth of 2/1 islands in response to magnetic perturbations. Although we use externally applied perturbations produced by resonant magnetic perturbation (RMP) coils for this study, the results are directly transferable to island seeding by other MHD instabilities creating a resonant magnetic field component at the rational surface. Experimental results for 2/1 island penetration from ASDEX Upgrade are presented extending previous studies. Simulations are based on an ASDEX Upgrade L-mode discharge with low collisionality and active RMP coils. Our numerical studies are performed with the 3D, two-fluid, nonlinear MHD code JOREK. All three phases of mode seeding observed in the experiment are also seen in the simulations: first, a weak response phase characterized by large perpendicular electron flow velocities followed by a fast growth of the magnetic island size accompanied by a reduction of the perpendicular electron velocity and finally the saturation to a fully formed island state with perpendicular electron velocity close to zero. Thresholds for mode penetration are observed in the plasma rotation as well as in the RMP coil current. A hysteresis of the island size and electron perpendicular velocity is observed between the ramping up and down of the RMP amplitude consistent with an analytically predicted bifurcation. The transition from dominant kink/bending to tearing parity during the penetration is investigated.

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