Tokamak plasma high field side response to an n = 3 magnetic perturbation: A comparison of 3D equilibrium solutions from seven different codes

A. Reiman, N. M. Ferraro, A. Turnbull, J. K. Park, A. Cerfon, T. E. Evans, M. J. Lanctot, E. A. Lazarus, Y. Liu, G. McFadden, D. Monticello, Y. Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In comparing equilibrium solutions for a DIII-D shot that is amenable to analysis by both stellarator and tokamak three-dimensional (3D) equilibrium codes, a significant disagreement has been seen between solutions of the VMEC stellarator equilibrium code and solutions of tokamak perturbative 3D equilibrium codes. The source of that disagreement has been investigated, and that investigation has led to new insights into the domain of validity of the different equilibrium calculations, and to a finding that the manner in which localized screening currents at low order rational surfaces are handled can affect global properties of the equilibrium solution. The perturbative treatment has been found to break down at surprisingly small perturbation amplitudes due to overlap of the calculated perturbed flux surfaces, and that treatment is not valid in the pedestal region of the DIII-D shot studied. The perturbative treatment is valid, however, further into the interior of the plasma, and flux surface overlap does not account for the disagreement investigated here. Calculated equilibrium solutions for simple model cases and comparison of the 3D equilibrium solutions with those of other codes indicate that the disagreement arises from a difference in handling of localized currents at low order rational surfaces, with such currents being absent in VMEC and present in the perturbative codes. The significant differences in the global equilibrium solutions associated with the presence or absence of very localized screening currents at rational surfaces suggests that it may be possible to extract information about localized currents from appropriate measurements of global equilibrium plasma properties. That would require improved diagnostic capability on the high field side of the tokamak plasma, a region difficult to access with diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063026
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • 3D equilibrium
  • ELM
  • magnetic perturbation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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