Transport and Confinement

Particle energy and momentum transport in a high-temperature plasma refers to the way in which particles energy or momentum escapes from the plasma. Transport characteristics aid in the understanding and controlling of plasmas used in fusion energy research.

The physics of core plasma transport is believed to be well-described by electromagnetic gyrokinetic equations, the appropriate equations for well magnetized plasma, together with appropriate Coulomb collision models. In 1990, General Atomics pioneered the idea of using dimensionally similar scaling, based on the gyrokinetic equations, to make theoretically-based extrapolations to ignition-sized fusion research devices, such as ITER. Since that time, there have been considerable advances in the theoretical understanding of transport scaling, and in the ability to formulate comprehensive theory-based transport models which describe core confinement and enhanced confinement regimes. These models are substantiated by first-principles simulations of the gyrokinetic equations on high performance computers.