Physical mechanism behind and access to the I-mode confinement regime in tokamaks

P. Manz, T. Happel, U. Stroth, T. Eich, D. Silvagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The I-mode is an attractive confinement regime for future tokamak based fusion reactors. A model is presented which explains the I-mode regime by the reduction of ITG turbulence near the separatrix at low collisionality, where the separatrix ion temperature can exceed the electron temperature. Drift-Alfvén-turbulence develops, with large and small-scale fluctuations being suppressed by phase randomization and finite-Larmor-radius effects, respectively. The intermediate scales form a broad peak in the frequency spectrum, which features the same properties as the characteristic weakly coherent mode. The model, which is studied by means of gyro-fluid simulations, reproduces a number of other experimental I-mode observations, such as decoupled energy and particle transport, intermittent turbulent bursts with precursors, an operational window widening with magnetic field strength, and the challenges met when detaching the plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number096011
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • I-mode
  • confinement
  • drift-wave
  • tokamak
  • turbulence


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