Lithium wall coatings have been shown to reduce recycling, suppress edge-localized modes (ELMs), and improve energy confinement in the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). Here we document the effect of gradually increasing lithium wall coatings on the discharge characteristics, with the reference ELMy discharges obtained in boronized, i.e. non-lithiated conditions. We observed a continuous but not quite monotonic reduction in recycling and improvement in energy confinement, a gradual alteration of edge plasma profiles, and slowly increasing periods of ELM quiescence. The measured edge plasma profiles during the lithium-coating scan were simulated with the SOLPS code, which quantified the reduction in divertor recycling coefficient from 98% to 90%. The reduction in recycling and fuelling, coupled with a drop in the edge particle transport rate, reduced the average edge density profile gradient, and shifted it radially inwards from the separatrix location. In contrast, the edge electron temperature (T e) profile was unaffected in the H-mode pedestal steep gradient region within the last 5% of normalized poloidal flux, ψ N ; however, the T e gradient became steeper at the top of the H-mode pedestal for 0.8<ψ N<0.94 with lithium coatings. The peak pressure gradients were comparable during ELMy and ELM-free phases, but were shifted away from the separatrix in the ELM-free discharges, which is stabilizing to the current-driven instabilities thought to be responsible for ELMs in NSTX.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics