Jeffrey Lestz

Advisors: E. Belova, N. Gorelenkov
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My thesis research is focused on energetic particle driven instabilities in tokamaks with Drs. Elena Belova and Nikolai Gorelenkov. Specifically, we are investigating two aspects of compressional (CAE) and global (GAE) Alfven eigenmode dynamics with hybrid simulations and analytic theory. The first topic is the linear physics of their excitation and stability: what are the preferential conditions (thermal and energetic components) for the excitation of CAEs vs GAEs? The second topic is the resulting nonlinear energy channeling and transport: given a spectrum of CAE/GAE modes, what is their effect on the thermal plasma? These theoretical studies are conducted in support of NSTX-U's thrust on energetic particle physics and motivated by unsolved experimental observations.