By using strong shaping and state-of-the-art control, the tokamak can operate in an advanced regime that has higher performance than standard operation and offers a path to an economically attractive fusion power plant. Advanced tokamak operation requires simultaneous achievement of high plasma pressure, high-confinement, steady-state and high-heat exhaust handling capability.
External heating using neutral particle beams and electromagnetic waves are needed to bring the plasma to ignition condition. Similar systems are used to optimize the plasma profiles for high pressure and good confinement. Steady-state will be achieved by a combination of self-driven (bootstrap) current and non-inductive current driven by auxiliary systems. The General Atomics Theory Group extensively studies and explores issues related to high power heating and current drive using state-of-the-art modeling codes. Promising ideas have been and will continue to be tested on DIII-D.