A gyrokinetic analysis of electron plasma waves at resonance in magnetic field gradients
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To produce nuclear fusion in a Tokamak reactor requires the heating of a plasma to a temperature of the order of 10 keV. Electron cyclotron resonant heating (ECRH), in which the plasma is heated by radio waves in resonance with the Larmor frequency of the plasma's electrons, is one scheme under consideration for achieving this. A description of such a heating scheme requires a theory to explain the propagation and absorption of high frequency waves in a plasma in the presence of a magnetic field gradient. A WKB analysis can describe some of the processes involved but a complete explanation requires the use of full wave equations. In this thesis we shall develop a technique for deriving such equations which will be shown to be simpler and more general than calculations performed by earlier workers. The technique relies on including the effect of the magnetic gradient across the Larmor orbit of the electrons in the resonance condition of the wave, the so called Gyrokinetic correction, which has been ignored in calculations by previous workers. Once derived, the equations are solved numerically and the results applied to a number of experiments currently being performed on Tokamak fusion. In addition, we shall also look at the energy loss processes of runaway electrons, which have been shown experimentally to be shorter than would be expected.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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