Ion cyclotron heating (ICH) on the Prototype Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX) is to be accomplished using the "beach-heating" technique. Beach heating has not been previously demonstrated to efficiently heat core ions at the high electron density values present in Proto-MPEX. This work numerically investigates the wave propagation characteristics of the ICH region on Proto-MPEX to explore avenues for efficient core ion heating. The analysis reveals that finite electron temperature effects are required to predict core ion heating. Cold plasma dispersion analysis and full-wave simulations show that the inertial Alfvén wave (IAW) is restricted from coupling power into the core plasma because (1) the group velocity is too shallow for its energy to penetrate into the core before damping in the periphery and (2) when operating in a magnetic field where ω/ωci≳0.7, the IAW is cut off from the core plasma by the Alfvén resonance. However, including kinetic effects shows that the kinetic Alfvén wave (KAW) can propagate in the electron temperature regime in Proto-MPEX. Full-wave simulations show that when the electron temperature is increased to Te > 2 eV and the edge electron density is sufficiently high needge>1×1017 m-3, ion power absorption in the core increases substantially (≈25% of total power). The increase in ion power absorption in the core is attributed to the propagation of the KAW. Calculations of electron and ion power absorption show that the electron heating is localized around the Alfvén resonance, while the ion heating is localized at the fundamental ion cyclotron resonance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics