We investigate the spectral properties of the electromagnetic fluctuations of sub-ion scale turbulence in weakly collisional, low-beta plasmas using a two-field isothermal gyrofluid model. The numerical results strongly support a description of the turbulence as a critically balanced Kolmogorov-like cascade of kinetic Alfvén wave fluctuations, as amended by previous studies to include intermittency effects. The measured universal index of the energy spectra from systems with different flux-unfreezing mechanisms excludes the role of tearing mediation in determining the spectra. The fluctuations remain isotropic in the plane perpendicular to the strong background magnetic fields as they cascade to smaller scales, which explains the absence of tearing mediation. The calculation of high-order, multipoint structure functions of magnetic fluctuations suggests that the intermittent structures have a quasi-2D, sheet-type morphology. These results are useful for explaining recent observations of the spectrum and structure of magnetic and density fluctuations in the solar wind at sub-proton scales, and are relevant for modelling the energy dissipation in a broad range of astrophysical systems.
In this study, we explore the statistics of pressure fluctuations in kinetic collisionless turbulence. A 2.5D kinetic particle-in-cell simulation of decaying turbulence is used to investigate pressure balance via the evolution of thermal and magnetic pressure in a plasma with β of order unity. We also discuss the behaviour of thermal, magnetic, and total pressure structure functions and their corresponding wavenumber spectra. The total pressure spectrum exhibits a slope of −7/3 extending for about a decade in the ion-inertial range. In contrast, shallower −5/3 spectra are characteristic of the magnetic pressure and thermal pressure. The steeper total pressure spectrum is a consequence of cancellation caused by density-magnetic field magnitude anti-correlation. Further, we evaluate higher order total pressure structure functions in an effort to discuss intermittency and compare the power exponents with higher order structure functions of velocity and magnetic fluctuations. Finally, applications to astrophysical systems are also discussed.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Oxford University Press
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Medium: X Size: p. 4067-4078
- ["p. 4067-4078"]
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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