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  1. We discuss the phenomenon of energization of relativistic charged particles in three-dimensional incompressible MHD turbulence and the diffusive properties of the motion of the same particles. We show that the random electric field induced by turbulent plasma motion leads test particles moving in a simulated box to be accelerated in a stochastic way, a second-order Fermi process. A small fraction of these particles happen to be trapped in large scale structures, most likely formed due to the interaction of islands in the turbulence. Such particles get accelerated exponentially, provided their pitch angle satisfies some conditions. We discuss at length themore »characterization of the accelerating structure and the physical processes responsible for rapid acceleration. We also comment on the applicability of the results to realistic astrophysical turbulence.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 20, 2023
  2. The dissipative mechanism in weakly collisional plasma is a topic that pervades decades of studies without a consensus solution. We compare several energy dissipation estimates based on energy transfer processes in plasma turbulence and provide justification for the pressure–strain interaction as a direct estimate of the energy dissipation rate. The global and scale-by-scale energy balances are examined in 2.5D and 3D kinetic simulations. We show that the global internal energy increase and the temperature enhancement of each species are directly tracked by the pressure–strain interaction. The incompressive part of the pressure–strain interaction dominates over its compressive part in all simulationsmore »considered. The scale-by-scale energy balance is quantified by scale filtered Vlasov–Maxwell equations, a kinetic plasma approach, and the lag dependent von Kármán–Howarth equation, an approach based on fluid models. We find that the energy balance is exactly satisfied across all scales, but the lack of a well-defined inertial range influences the distribution of the energy budget among different terms in the inertial range. Therefore, the widespread use of the Yaglom relation in estimating the dissipation rate is questionable in some cases, especially when the scale separation in the system is not clearly defined. In contrast, the pressure– strain interaction balances exactly the dissipation rate at kinetic scales regardless of the scale separation« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  3. We demonstrate an efficient mechanism for generating magnetic fields in turbulent, collisionless plasmas. By using fully kinetic, particle-in-cell simulations of an initially nonmagnetized plasma, we inspect the genesis of magnetization, in a nonlinear regime. The complex motion is initiated via a Taylor–Green vortex, and the plasma locally develops strong electron temperature anisotropy, due to the strain tensor of the turbulent flow. Subsequently, in a domino effect, the anisotropy triggers a Weibel instability, localized in space. In such active wave–particle interaction regions, the seed magnetic field grows exponentially and spreads to larger scales due to the interaction with the underlying stirringmore »motion. Such a self-feeding process might explain magnetogenesis in a variety of astrophysical plasmas, wherever turbulence is present.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT The physical foundations of the dissipation of energy and the associated heating in weakly collisional plasmas are poorly understood. Here, we compare and contrast several measures that have been used to characterize energy dissipation and kinetic-scale conversion in plasmas by means of a suite of kinetic numerical simulations describing both magnetic reconnection and decaying plasma turbulence. We adopt three different numerical codes that can also include interparticle collisions: the fully kinetic particle-in-cell vpic, the fully kinetic continuum Gkeyll, and the Eulerian Hybrid Vlasov–Maxwell (HVM) code. We differentiate between (i) four energy-based parameters, whose definition is related to energy transfermore »in a fluid description of a plasma, and (ii) four distribution function-based parameters, requiring knowledge of the particle velocity distribution function. There is an overall agreement between the dissipation measures obtained in the PIC and continuum reconnection simulations, with slight differences due to the presence/absence of secondary islands in the two simulations. There are also many qualitative similarities between the signatures in the reconnection simulations and the self-consistent current sheets that form in turbulence, although the latter exhibits significant variations compared to the reconnection results. All the parameters confirm that dissipation occurs close to regions of intense magnetic stresses, thus exhibiting local correlation. The distribution function-based measures show a broader width compared to energy-based proxies, suggesting that energy transfer is co-localized at coherent structures, but can affect the particle distribution function in wider regions. The effect of interparticle collisions on these parameters is finally discussed.« less
  5. Abstract In this paper we examine a low-energy solar energetic particle (SEP) event observed by IS⊙IS’s Energetic Particle Instrument-Low (EPI-Lo) inside 0.18 au on 2020 September 30. This small SEP event has a very interesting time profile and ion composition. Our results show that the maximum energy and peak in intensity are observed mainly along the open radial magnetic field. The event shows velocity dispersion, and strong particle anisotropies are observed throughout the event, showing that more particles are streaming outward from the Sun. We do not see a shock in the in situ plasma or magnetic field data throughoutmore »the event. Heavy ions, such as O and Fe, were detected in addition to protons and 4He, but without significant enhancements in 3He or energetic electrons. Our analysis shows that this event is associated with a slow streamer blowout coronal mass ejection (SBO-CME), and the signatures of this small CME event are consistent with those typical of larger CME events. The time–intensity profile of this event shows that the Parker Solar Probe encountered the western flank of the SBO-CME. The anisotropic and dispersive nature of this event in a shockless local plasma gives indications that these particles are most likely accelerated remotely near the Sun by a weak shock or compression wave ahead of the SBO-CME. This event may represent direct observations of the source of the low-energy SEP seed particle population.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  6. Abstract We present observations of ≳10–100 keV nucleon −1 suprathermal (ST) H, He, O, and Fe ions associated with crossings of the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) at radial distances of <0.1 au from the Sun. Our key findings are as follows: (1) very few heavy ions are detected during the first full crossing, the heavy-ion intensities are reduced during the second partial crossing and peak just after the second crossing; (2) ion arrival times exhibit no velocity dispersion; (3) He pitch-angle distributions track the magnetic field polarity reversal and show up to ∼10:1 anti-sunward, field-aligned flows and beams closer tomore »the HCS that become nearly isotropic farther from the HCS; (4) the He spectrum steepens either side of the HCS, and the He, O, and Fe spectra exhibit power laws of the form ∼ E −4 – E 6 ; and (5) maximum energies E X increase with the ion’s charge-to-mass ( Q / M ) ratio as E X / E H ∝ ( Q X / M X ) δ , where δ ∼ 0.65–0.76, assuming that the average Q states are similar to those measured in gradual and impulsive solar energetic particle events at 1 au. The absence of velocity dispersion in combination with strong field-aligned anisotropies closer to the HCS appears to rule out solar flares and near-Sun coronal-mass-ejection-driven shocks. These new observations present challenges not only for mechanisms that employ direct parallel electric fields and organize maximum energies according to E / Q but also for local diffusive and magnetic-reconnection-driven acceleration models. Reevaluation of our current understanding of the production and transport of energetic ions is necessary to understand this near-solar, current-sheet-associated population of ST ions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023