Chaos in Reversed-field-pinch Plasma Simulation and Experiment

Christopher Watts, D. E. Newman, and J. C. Sprott
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin--Madison, Wisconsin 53706
(Received 4 October 1993)


We investigate the possibility that chaos and simple determinism are governing the dynamics of reversed-field-pinch (RFP) plasmas using data from both numerical simulations and experiment. A large repertoire of nonlinear-analysis techniques is used to identify low-dimensional chaos. These tools include phase portraits and Poincare sections, correlation dimension, the spectrum of Lyapunov exponents, and short-term predictability. In addition, nonlinear-noise-reduction techniques are applied to the experimental data in an attempt to extract any underlying deterministic dynamics. These are the DEBS computer code, which models global RFP dynamics, and the dissipative trapped-electron-mode model, which models drift-wave turbulence. Data from both simulations show strong indications of low-dimensional chaos and simple determinism. Experimental data were obtained from the Madison Symmetric Torus RFP and consist of a wide array of both global and local diagnostic signals. None of the signals shows any indication of low-dimensional chaos or other simple determinism. Moreover, most of the analysis tools indicate that the experimental system is very high dimensional with properties similar to noise. Nonlinear noise reduction is unsuccessful at extracting an underlying deterministic system.

Ref: Christopher Watts, D. E. Newman, and J. C. Sprott, Physical Review E 49, 2291-2301 (1994)

The complete paper is available in PDF format.

Return to Sprott's Books and Publications.