The link between the development of sheared flows and the structure of turbulence has been investigated in the plasma boundary region of the [Formula presented] stellarator. The development of the naturally occurring velocity shear layer requires a minimum plasma density. Near this critical density, the level of edge turbulent transport and the turbulent kinetic energy significantly increases in the plasma edge. The resulting shearing rate in the phase velocity of fluctuations is comparable to the one required to trigger a transition to improved confinement regimes with reduction of edge turbulence, suggesting that spontaneous sheared flows and fluctuations keep themselves near marginal stability. These findings provide the experimental evidence of coupling between sheared flows development and increasing in the level of edge turbulence. The experimental results are consistent with the expectations of second-order transition models of turbulence-driven sheared flows.
|Number of pages
|Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
|Published - 2004