The effects of the plasma-confining potentials and the associated radially sheared electric fields on the central-cell electron energy confinement are theoretically and experimentally investigated in the GAMMA 10 tandem mirror. In particular, the scaling of the central-cell electron temperatures with electron-confining potentials is studied on the basis of the local energy-balance equation. The obtained theoretical scaling of electron temperatures with electron-confining potentials is then compared with the experimentally observed relation between these two parameters.

Recently, by the use of new 0.5-MW level gyrotrons in the plug region, four-time progress in the formation of the ion-confining potential c including a new record of 3 kV has been achieved in a hot-ion mode having bulk-ion temperature Ti = several keV. In the hot-ion mode, intermittent vortex-like turbulent structures are observed in the case without the gyrotron injections; in this case, radially produced weak shear of electric fields dEr/dr and appreciable transverse losses are observed. However, during the application of electron-cyclotron heatings, the associated potential rise produces a stronger shear in the central cell (dEr/dr = several 10 kV/m2) resulting in the disappearance of such intermittent turbulent vortices with plasma confinement improvement.

In order to investigate the effect of the radially sheared electric fields on the electron energy confinement, the radial profiles of the thermal diffusivity are derived from the local power-balance analysis by the use of the data from the following various diagnostics in the above-described hot-ion mode. The obtained radial profiles of radial electric field and thermal diffusivity imply that the reduction of the thermal diffusivity is associated with the radially produced strong shear of electric fields.