1 Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark
Numerical fluid simulations of interchange turbulence for geometry and parameters relevant to the boundary region of magnetically confined plasmas are shown to result in intermittent transport qualitatively similar to recent experimental measurements. The two-dimensional simulation domain features a forcing region with spatially localized sources of particles and heat outside which losses due to the motion along open magnetic-field lines dominate, corresponding to the edge region and the scrape-off layer, respectively. Turbulent states reveal intermittent eruptions of hot plasma from the edge region, propagating radially far into the scrape-off layer in the form of field-aligned filaments, or blobs. This results in positively skewed and flattened single-point probability distribution functions of particle density and temperature, reflecting the frequent appearance of large fluctuations. The conditional fluctuation wave forms and transport statistics are also in a good agreement with those derived from the experiments. Associated with the turbulence bursts are relaxation oscillations in the particle and heat confinements as well as in the kinetic energy of the sheared poloidal flows. The formation of blob structures is thus related to profile variations, which are here triggered in a quasiperiodic manner by a global dynamical regulation due to the self-sustained sheared flows. (C) 2005 American Institute of Physics.