Observation of fully detached divertor integrated with improved core confinement for tokamak fusion plasmas

Physics of Plasmas, Volume 28, Issue 5, May 2021. Integration of divertor detachment with a high-performance (βN ∼ 3, βp > 2, H98 ∼ 1.5) core plasma has been demonstrated in DIII-D high-βp (poloidal beta) plasmas associated with a sustained core internal transport barrier (ITB) and an H-mode edge transport barrier (ETB). Such good core-edge integration has been achieved for both neon and nitrogen seeding, for both favorable and unfavorable B-field directions, independently from the impurity puffing locations, though these variations play important roles on divertor characteristics. Compared to the standard H-mode plasmas, the high-βp plasma exhibits a much wider window of detachment compatible with high confinement core. Fully detached divertor plasmas with low plasma temperature (Te < 5 eV), low particle flux, and low heat flux across the entire divertor target plate were obtained by using nitrogen seeding. This detached high-βp plasma is compatible with a newly developed detachment control system which can help optimize the nitrogen gas flow rate. Several features, i.e., the high edge safety factor in the high-βp scenario, impurity injection, closed divertor and reduced heating power requirement due to the high confinement, facilitate the achievement of full divertor detachment at lower density. Instead of degrading global performance, the divertor detachment facilitates the access to an even stronger ITB at large radius with a relatively weak ETB through self-organized synergy between ITB and ETB, leading to sustained high confinement. The strengthening of the large-radius ITB compensates for the ETB degradation associated with divertor detachment. In addition, a weak ETB naturally has smaller edge localized modes (ELMs). In particular, with neon injection, a long-period no-ELM H-mode phase has been achieved simultaneously with high-performance core and partially detached divertor plasmas. These results demonstrate the possibility of integrating excellent core plasma performance with an effective divertor solution, an essential step toward steady-state operation of reactor-grade plasmas.