Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 43 / Number 4 / June 2003 / Pages 503-513
The ion cyclotron heating and current drive system on the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has delivered over 3 MW reliably for pulse lengths over 100 ms with various phasings of the antennas. A circuit model of the system that includes the 12 coupled antennas and six radio-frequency sources has been developed that gives good agreement with vacuum measurements. When it is used to experimentally determine the S-matrix of the system under different plasma conditions, pronounced asymmetries in the off-diagonal values of the S-matrix are seen. The S-matrix in the presence of plasma has been calculated with the RANT3D code using measured edge density profiles in front of the antenna; these agree remarkably well with the measurements. The asymmetry is caused primarily by the large pitch angle of the magnetic field in front of the antenna, coupled with the gradients in the plasma edge.