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Electron-scale turbulence plays an important role in transport

Theoretical simulations from researchers at MIT, the University of California and General Atomics indicate that electron-scale turbulence plays an important role in the total energy transport in tokamaks. Multi-scale simulations that include electron-scale turbulence provide more accurate predictions of the transport.

Turbulence is usually associated with ions, because their effect was about two orders larger than turbulence caused by electrons. The electron distribution would be smeared out by the much larger Eddy currents and even if they survived these electron-scale whirls would have negligible effect.

However, these new studies indicate that in fact the electron-scale turbulence plays a much larger role in tokamak transport. The indications from the theoretical study are further supported by an analysis of experiments done at Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory.

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