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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 May 30;90(21):215002. Epub 2003 May 30.

Experimental identification of the kink instability as a poloidal flux amplification mechanism for coaxial gun spheromak formation.

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1
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.

Abstract

The magnetohydrodynamic kink instability is observed and identified experimentally as a poloidal flux amplification mechanism for coaxial gun spheromak formation. Plasmas in this experiment fall into three distinct regimes which depend on the peak gun current to magnetic flux ratio, with (I) low values resulting in a straight plasma column with helical magnetic field, (II) intermediate values leading to kinking of the column axis, and (III) high values leading immediately to a detached plasma. Onset of column kinking agrees quantitatively with the Kruskal-Shafranov limit, and the kink acts as a dynamo which converts toroidal to poloidal flux. Regime II clearly leads to both poloidal flux amplification and the development of a spheromak configuration.

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