Progress in Understanding Heat Transport at JET

This paper reports recent progress in understanding heat transport mechanisms either in conventional or advanced tokamak scenarios in JET. A key experimental tool has been the use of perturbative transport techniques, both by ICH power modulation and by edge cold pulses. The availability of such results has allowed careful comparison with theoretical modelling using 1D empirical or physics based transport models, 3D fluid turbulence simulations or gyrokinetic stability analysis. In conventional L- and H-mode plasmas the issue of temperature profile stiffness has been addressed. JET results are consistent with the concept of a critical inverse temperature gradient length above which transport is enhanced by the onset of turbulence. A threshold value R/LTe~5 has been found for the onset of stiff electron transport, while the level of electron stiffness appears to vary strongly with plasma parameters, in particular with the ratio of electron and ion heating: electrons become stiffer when ions are strongly heated, resulting in larger R/LTi values. This behaviour has also been found theoretically, although quantitatively weaker than in experiments. In plasmas characterized by Internal Transport Barriers (ITB), the properties of heat transport inside the ITB layer and the ITB formation mechanisms have been investigated. The plasma current profile is found to play a major role in ITB formation. The effect of negative magnetic shear on electron and ion stabilization is demonstrated both experimentally and theoretically using turbulence codes. The role of rational magnetic surfaces in ITB triggering is well assessed experimentally, but still lacks a convincing theoretical explanation. Attempts to trigger an ITB by externally induced magnetic reconnection using saddle coils have shown that MHD islands in general do not produce a sufficient variation of ExB flow shear to lead to ITB formation. First results of perturbative transport in ITBs show that the ITB is a narrow layer with low heat diffusivity, characterized by sub-critical transport and loss of stiffness.
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