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The bifurcation nature of the electrostatic structure is studied in the toroidal helical plasma of the Compact Helical System (CHS) [K. Matsuoka et al., Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research, Nice, 1988 (International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1989), Vol. 2, p. 411]. Observation of bifurcation-related phenomena is introduced, such as characteristic patterns of discrete potential profiles, and various patterns of self-sustained oscillations termed electric pulsation. Some patterns of the electrostatic structure are found to be quite important for fusion application owing to their association with transport barrier formation. It is confirmed, as is shown in several tokamak experiments, that the thermal transport barrier is linked with electrostatic structure through the radial electric field shear that can reduce the fluctuation resulting in anomalous transport. This article describes in detail spatio-temporal evolution during self-sustained oscillation, together with correlation between the radial electric field and other plasma parameters. An experimental survey to find dependence of the temporal and spatial patterns on plasma parameters is performed in order to understand systematically the bifurcation property of the toroidal helical plasma. The experimental results are compared with the neoclassical bifurcation property that is believed to explain the observed bifurcation property of the CHS plasmas. The present results show that the electrostatic property plays an essential role in the structural formation of toroidal helical plasmas, and demonstrate that toroidal plasma is an open system with a strong nonlinearity to provide a new attractive problem to be studied. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.
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