Effect of neutral atoms on tokamak edge plasmas
Neutral atoms can significantly influence the physics of tokamak edge plasmas, e.g., by affecting the radial electric field and plasma flow there, which may, in turn, be important for plasma confinement. Earlier work [Fülöp et al., Phys. Plasmas 5, 3969 (1998)], assuming short mean-free path neutrals and Pfirsch–Schlüter ions, has shown that the ion-neutral coupling through charge-exchange affects the neoclassical flow velocity significantly. However, the mean-free path of the neutrals is not always small in comparison with the radial scale length of densities and temperatures in the edge pedestal. It is therefore desirable to determine what happens in the limit when the neutral mean-free path is comparable with the scale length. In the present work a self-similar solution for the neutral distribution function allowing for strong temperature and density variation is used, following the analysis of Helander and Krasheninnikov [Phys. Plasmas 3, 226 (1995)]. The self-similar solution is possible if the ratio of the mean-free path to the temperature and density scale length is constant throughout the edge plasma. The resulting neutral distribution function is used to investigate the neutral effects on the ion flow and electrostatic potential as this ratio varies from much less than one to order unity.© 2001 American Institute of Physics.