On the dynamics of vortex modes within magnetic islands

Physics – Plasma Physics

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

Recent work investigating the interaction of magnetic islands with micro-turbulence has uncovered the striking observation of large scale vortex modes forming within the island structure [W.A. Hornsby {\it et al.}, Phys. Plasmas {\bf 17} 092301 (2010)]. These electrostatic vortices are found to be the size of the island and are oscillatory. It is this oscillatory behaviour and the presence of turbulence that leads us to believe that the dynamics are related to the Geodesic Acoustic Mode (GAM), and it is this link that is investigated in this paper. Here we derive an equation for the GAM in the MHD limit, in the presence of a magnetic island modified three-dimensional axisymmetric geometry. The eigenvalues and eigenfunctions are calculated numerically and then utilised to analyse the dynamics of oscillatory large-scale electrostatic potential structures seen in both linear and non-linear gyro-kinetic simulations.

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