The Search for Reconnection and Helicity During Formation of a Bounded Spheromak





Citation of Original Publication

Romero-Talamás, C.A., McLean, H.S., Hooper, E.B. et al. The Search for Reconnection and Helicity During Formation of a Bounded Spheromak. J Fusion Energ 27, 104–107 (2008).


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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Recent results from investigations using insertable magnetic probes at the Sustained Spheromak Physics Experiment (SSPX) [E. B. Hooper et al., Nucl. Fusion 39, 863 (1999)] are presented. Experiments were carried out during pre-programmed, constant amplitude coaxial gun current pulses, where magnetic field increases stepwise with every pulse, but eventually saturates. Magnetic traces from the probe, which is electrically isolated from the plasma and spans the flux conserver radius, indicate there is a time lag at every pulse between the response to the current rise in the open flux surfaces (intercepting the electrodes) and the closed flux surfaces (linked around the open ones). This is interpreted as the time to buildup enough helicity in the open flux surfaces before reconnecting and merging with the closed ones. Future experimental and diagnostic plans to directly estimate the helicity in the open flux surfaces and measure reconnection are briefly discussed.