electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)
The recently developed free-plasma-boundary version of the SIESTA MHD equilibrium code (Hirshman et al 2011 Phys. Plasmas 18 062504; Peraza-Rodriguez et al 2017 Phys. Plasmas 24 082516) is used for the first time to study scenarios with considerable bootstrap currents for the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator. Bootstrap currents in the range of tens of kAs can lead to the formation of unwanted magnetic island chains or stochastic regions within the plasma and alter the boundary rotational transform due to the small shear in W7-X. The latter issue is of relevance since the island divertor operation of W7-X relies on a proper positioning of magnetic island chains at the plasma edge to control the particle and energy exhaust towards the divertor plates. Two scenarios are examined with the new free-plasma-boundary capabilities of SIESTA: a freely evolving bootstrap current one that illustrates the difficulties arising from the dislocation of the boundary islands, and a second one in which off-axis electron cyclotron current drive (ECCD) is applied to compensate the effects of the bootstrap current and keep the island divertor configuration intact. SIESTA finds that off-axis ECCD is indeed able to keep the location and phase of the edge magnetic island chain unchanged, but it may also lead to an undesired stochastization of parts of the confined plasma if the EC deposition radial profile becomes too narrow.
ideal MHD; simulations; wendelstein 7-X; magnetic islands