Physics of Plasmas, Volume 27, Issue 9, September 2020. The effect of strong electron emission from material surfaces has been proposed to form an “inverse sheath”: a region with a positive potential relative to the near-wall plasma which prevents the flow of ions to the wall [M. D. Campanell, “Negative plasma potential relative to electron-emitting surfaces,” Phys. Rev. E. 88, 033103 (2013); M. D. Campanell and M. V. Umansky, “Strongly emitting surfaces unable to float below plasma potential,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 1–5 (2016); M. D. Campanell and G. R. Johnson, “Thermionic cooling of the target plasma to a sub-ev temperature,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 1–5 (2019)]. We assess the viability of this regime in a tokamak device using the 2D edge plasma transport code UEDGE [T. Rognlien et al., “A fully implicit, time dependent 2-D fluid code for modeling tokamak edge plasmas,” J. Nucl. Mater. 196–198, 347–351 (1992)]. Since the UEDGE code does not consider the sheath region directly, we apply boundary conditions at the divertor targets which emulate the physics of both “standard” and “inverse” sheath regimes [R. Masline et al., “Influence of the inverse sheath on divertor plasma performance in tokamak edge plasma simulations,” Contrib. Plasma Phys. 60, e201900097 (2020)]. Using these boundary conditions, we perform scoping studies to assess plasma parameters near the target by varying the density at the core-edge interface. We observe a smooth transition in the resultant profiles of plasma parameters for the standard sheath, and a bifurcation across the simulation set for plasmas with an inverse sheath. The cause of this bifurcation is assessed by performing the parameter scan both with and without impurity radiation; we observe that the bifurcation persists in both cases, indicating that this bifurcation is caused by plasma recombination.

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