REVIEW ARTICLE: A review of internal transport barrier physics for steady-state operation of tokamaks
Tokamak discharges with improved energy confinement properties arising from internal transport barriers (ITBs) have certain attractive features, such as a large bootstrap current fraction, which suggest a potential route to the steady-state mode of operation desirable for fusion power plants. This paper first reviews the present state of theoretical and experimental knowledge regarding the formation and characteristics of ITBs in tokamaks. Specifically, the current status of theoretical modelling of ITBs is presented; then, an international ITB database based on experimental information extracted from some nine tokamaks is described and used to draw some general conclusions concerning the necessary conditions for ITBs to appear, comparing these with the theoretical models. The experimental situation regarding the steady-state, or at least quasi-steady-state, operation of tokamaks is reviewed and finally the issues and prospects for achieving such operational modes in ITER are discussed. More detailed information on the characteristics of ITBs in some 13 tokamaks (as well as helical devices) appears in the appendix.