Curl-free magnetic fields for stellarator optimization
This paper describes a new and efficient method of defining an annular region of a curl-free magnetic field with specific physics and coil properties that can be used in stellarator design. Three statements define the importance: (1) Codes can follow an optimized curl-free initial state to a final full-pressure equilibrium. The large size of the optimization space of stellarators, approximately fifty externally-produced distributions of magnetic field, makes success in finding a global optimum largely determined by the starting point. (2) The design of a stellarator is actually improved when the central region of the plasma has rapid transport with the confinement provided by a surrounding annulus of magnetic surfaces with low transport. (3) The stellarator is unique among all fusion concepts, inertial as well as magnetic, in not using the plasma itself to provide an essential part of its confinement concept. This permits reliable computational design, which opens a path to faster, cheaper, and more certain achievement of fusion energy.