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An experimental investigation of particle parallel flows has been carried out at Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), one of the most advanced stellarators in the world. The studies are restricted to the outermost plasma region, the scrape-off layer (SOL), which is shaped to tackle the exhaust problem in vision of future fusion reactors based on plasma magnetic confinement. The aim of the measurements is to set the basis for a physics analysis of the SOL dynamics by obtaining direct information on convective heat transport, together with the assessment of the predominant flow directions of the main plasma ions and of fusion-products or wall-released impurities. In this way, a better comprehension of the interplay between the transport parallel and perpendicular to the SOL field lines can be achieved, contributing to the understanding of the effectiveness of the island divertor configuration.
The chosen instrument for the experimental studies is the Coherence Imaging Spectroscopy (CIS) diagnostic, a camera-based interferometer capable of measuring 2D Doppler particle flows associated with a selected visible line from the plasma. The diagnostic is distinguished by its high time resolution and spatial coverage, allowing the visualisation and measurements of flow velocities for a full module of W7-X simultaneously. A CIS diagnostic has been fully designed for W7-X with an improved level of accuracy achieved thanks to the implementation of a new calibration source, a continuous-wave-emission tunable laser. The laser allowed a full characterization of the diagnostic and a frequent precise calibration, making the CIS system reliable for parallel flow investigations during the operational campaign OP1.2. The validity and importance of the CIS measurements have been further confirmed with dedicated simulation of the SOL plasma parameters by the EMC3-EIRENE code, and by comparisons with other edge diagnostics. The CIS results show the effects related to dynamical changes in the SOL due to impurity gas puffs or the development of a plasma current. Moreover, CIS can be used as a powerful tool to test the limits of the current theoretical models, for example in the case of forward and reversed field experiments.

With this thesis, studies which form the bedrock for the long term goal of first wall heat load control and optimization for the advanced stellarator Wendelstein 7-X are developed, described and put into context. It is laid out how reconstruction of features of the edge magnetic field from plasma facing component heat loads is an important first step and can successfully be achieved by artificial neural networks. A detailed study of plasma facing component heat load distribution, potential overloads and overload mitigation possibilities is made in first order approximation of the impact of the main plasma dynamic effects.

In this Ph.D. project a method is developed to measure the magnetic field and to derive variations in the total plasma pressure due to (dia-) magnetic effects. For this purpose a plasma diagnostic has been set up at the fusion experiment ASDEX Upgrade to measure spectroscopically polarized light. The light is emitted from fast beam-particles excited by the plasma. Since the fast atoms travel through a magnetic field at high velocity, a strong Lorentz field is seen in the moving frame. This electric field gives rise to the so-called motional Stark-effect (MSE) and it is possible to conclude from the Stark-spectrum on the magnetic field.

The confinement of energy has always been a challenge in magnetic confinement fusion devices. Due to their toroidal shape there exist regions of high and low magnetic field, so that the particles are divided into two classes - trapped ones that are periodically reflected in regions of high magnetic field with a characteristic frequency, and passing particles, whose parallel velocity is high enough that they largely follow a magnetic field line around the torus without being reflected. The radial drift that a particle experiences due to the field inhomogeneity depends strongly on its position, and the net drift therefore depends on the path taken by the particle. While the radial drift is close to zero for passing particles, trapped particles experience a finite radial net drift and are therefore lost in classical stellarators. These losses are described by the so-called neoclassical transport theory. Recent optimised stellarator geometries, however, in which the trapped particles precess around the torus poloidally and do not experience any net drift, promise to reduce the neoclassical transport down to the level of tokamaks. In these optimised stellarators, the neoclassical transport becomes small enough so that turbulent transport may limit the confinement instead. The turbulence is driven by small-scale-instabilities, which tap the free energy of density or temperature gradients in the plasma. Some of these instabilities are driven by the trapped particles and therefore depend strongly on the magnetic geometry, so the question arises how the optimisation affects the stability. In this thesis, collisionless electrostatic microinstabilities are studied both analytically and numerically. Magnetic configurations where the action integral of trapped-particle bounce motion, J, only depends on the radial position in the plasma and where its maximum is in the plasma centre, so-called maximum-J configurations, are of special interest. This condition can be achieved approximately in quasi-isodynamic stellarators, for example Wendelstein 7-X. In such configurations the precessional drift of the trapped particles is in the opposite direction from the direction of propagation of drift waves. Instabilities that are driven by the trapped particles usually rely on a resonance between these two frequencies. Here it is shown analytically by analysing the electrostatic energy transfer between the particles and the instability that, thanks to the absence of the resonance, a particle species draws energy from the mode if the frequency of the mode is well below the charateristic bounce frequency. Due to the low electron mass and the fast bounce motion, electrons are almost always found to be stabilising. Most of the trapped-particle instabilities are therefore predicted to be absent in maximum- J configurations in large parts of parameter space. Analytical theory thus predicts enhanced linear stability of trapped-particle modes in quasi-isodynamic stellarators compared with tokamaks. Moreover, since the electrons are expected to be stabilising, or at least less destabilising, for all instabilities whose frequency lies below the trapped-electron bounce frequency, other modes might benefit from the enhanced stability as well. In reality, however, stellarators are never perfectly quasi-isodynamic, and the question thus arises whether they still benefit from enhanced stability. Here the stability properties of Wendelstein 7-X and a more quasi-isodynamic configuration, QIPC, are investigated numerically and compared with another, non-quasiisodynamic stellarator, the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) and a typical tokamak. In gyrokinetic simulations, performed with the gyrokinetic code GENE in the electrostatic and collisionless approximation, several microinstabilities, driven by the density as well as both ion and electron temperature gradients, are studied. Wendelstein 7-X and QIPC exhibit significantly reduced growth rates for all simulations that include kinetic electrons, and the latter are indeed found to be stabilising when the electrostatic energy transfer is analysed. In contrast, if only the ions are treated kinetically but the electrons are taken to be in thermodynamic equilibrium, no such stabilising effect is observed. These results suggest that imperfectly optimised stellarators can retain most of the stabilising properties predicted for perfect maximum-J configurations. Quasi-isodynamic stellarators, in addition to having reduced neoclassical transport, might therefore also show reduced turbulent transport, at least in certain regions of parameter space.

The present work is the first work dealing with turbulence in the WEGA stellarator. The main object of this work is to provide a detailed characterisation of electrostatic turbulence in WEGA and to identify the underlying instability mechanism driving turbulence. The spatio-temporal structure of turbulence is studied using multiple Langmuir probes providing a sufficiently high spatial and temporal resolution. Turbulence in WEGA is dominated by drift wave dynamics. Evidence for this finding is given by several individual indicators which are typical features of drift waves. The phase shift between density and potential fluctuations is close to zero, fluctuations are mainly driven by the density gradient, and the phase velocity of turbulent structures points in the direction of the electron diamagnetic drift. The structure of turbulence is studied mainly in the plasma edge region inside the last closed flux surface. WEGA can be operated in two regimes differing in the magnetic field strength by almost one order of magnitude (57mT and 500mT, respectively). The two regimes turned out to show a strong difference in the turbulence dynamics. At 57mT large structures with a poloidal extent comparable to the machine dimensions are observed, whereas at 500mT turbulent structures are much smaller. The poloidal structure size scales nearly linearly with the inverse magnetic field strength. This scaling may be argued to be related to the drift wave dispersion scale. However, the structure size remains unchanged when the ion mass is changed by using different discharge gases. Inside the last closed flux surface the poloidal ExB drift in WEGA is negligible. The observed phase velocity is in good agreement with the electron diamagnetic drift velocity. The energy in the wavenumber-frequency spectrum is distributed in the vicinity of the drift wave dispersion relation. The three-dimensional structure is studied in detail using probes which are toroidally separated but aligned along connecting magnetic field lines. As expected for drift waves a small but finite parallel wavenumber is found. The ratio between the average parallel and perpendicular wavenumber is in the order of 10^-2. The parallel phase velocity of turbulent structures is in-between the ion sound velocity and the AlfvÃ¨nvelocity. In the parallel dynamics a fundamental difference between the two operational regimes at different magnetic field strength is found. At 500mT turbulent structures can be described as an interaction of wave contributions with parallel wavefronts. At 57mT the energy in the parallel wavenumber spectrum is distributed among wavenumber components pointing both parallel and antiparallel to the magnetic field vector. In both cases turbulent structures arise preferable on the low field side of the torus. Some results on a novel field in plasma turbulence are given, i.e. the study of turbulence as a function of resonant magnetic field perturbations leading to the formation of magnetic islands. Magnetic islands in WEGA can be manipulated by external perturbation coils. A significant influence of field perturbations on the turbulence dynamics is found. A distinct local increase of the fluctuation amplitude and the associated turbulent particle flux is found in the region of magnetic islands.