Progress in quantifying the edge physics of the H mode regime in DIII-D
Edge conditions in DIII-D are being quantified in order to provide insight into the physics of the H mode regime. Several studies show that electron temperature is not the key parameter that controls the L-H transition. Gradients of edge temperature and pressure are much more promising candidates for elements of such parameters. They systematically increase during the L phases of discharges which make a transition to H mode, and these increases are typically larger than the increases in the underlying quantities. The quality of H mode confinement is strongly correlated with the height of the H mode pedestal for the pressure. The gradient of the pressure is limited by MHD modes, in particular by ideal kink ballooning modes with finite mode number n. For a wide variety of discharges, the width of the barrier for electron pressure is well described by a relationship that is proportional to (β ped p ) 1/2 . A new regime of confinement, called the quiescent H mode, which provides steady state operation with no ELMs, low radiated power and normal H mode confinement, has been discovered. A coherent edge MHD mode provides adequate particle transport to control the plasma density while permitting the pressure pedestal to remain almost identical to that observed in ELMing discharges.