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  1. Visco-resistive magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, driven by a two-dimensional unstable shear layer that is maintained by an imposed body force, is examined by decomposing it into dissipationless linear eigenmodes of the initial profiles. The down-gradient momentum flux, as expected, originates from the large-scale instability. However, continual up-gradient momentum transport by large-scale linearly stable but nonlinearly excited eigenmodes is identified, and found to nearly cancel the down-gradient transport by unstable modes. The stable modes effectuate this by depleting the large-scale turbulent fluctuations via energy transfer to the mean flow. This establishes a physical mechanism underlying the long-known observation that coherent vortices formed from nonlinear saturation of the instability reduce turbulent transport and fluctuations, as such vortices are composed of both the stable and unstable modes, which are nearly equal in their amplitudes. The impact of magnetic fields on the nonlinearly excited stable modes is then quantified. Even when imposing a strong magnetic field that almost completely suppresses the instability, the up-gradient transport by the stable modes is at least two-thirds of the down-gradient transport by the unstable modes, whereas for weaker fields, this fraction reaches up to 98% . These effects are persistent with variations in magnetic Prandtl number and forcing strength. Finally,more »continuum modes are shown to be energetically less important, but essential for capturing the magnetic fluctuations and Maxwell stress. A simple analytical scaling law is derived for their saturated turbulent amplitudes. It predicts the fall-off rate as the inverse of the Fourier wavenumber, a property which is confirmed in numerical simulations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Straining of magnetic fields by large-scale shear flow, which is generally assumed to lead to intensification and generation of small scales, is reexamined in light of the persistent observation of large-scale magnetic fields in astrophysics. It is shown that, in magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, unstable shear flows have the unexpected effect of sequestering magnetic energy at large scales due to counteracting straining motion of nonlinearly excited large-scale stable eigenmodes. This effect is quantified via dissipation rates, energy transfer rates, and visualizations of magnetic field evolution by artificially removing the stable modes. These analyses show that predictions based upon physics of the linear instability alone miss substantial dynamics, including those of magnetic fluctuations.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT

    Understanding the time-scales for diffusive processes and their degree of anisotropy is essential for modelling cosmic ray transport in turbulent magnetic fields. We show that the diffusion time-scales are isotropic over a large range of energy and turbulence levels, notwithstanding the high degree of anisotropy exhibited by the components of the diffusion tensor for cases with an ordered magnetic field component. The predictive power of the classical scattering relation as a description for the relation between the parallel and perpendicular diffusion coefficients is discussed and compared to numerical simulations. Very good agreement for a large parameter space is found, transforming classical scattering relation predictions into a computational prescription for the perpendicular component. We discuss and compare these findings, in particular, the time-scales to become diffusive with the time-scales that particles reside in astronomical environments, the so-called escape time-scales. The results show that, especially at high energies, the escape times obtained from diffusion coefficients may exceed the time-scales required for diffusion. In these cases, the escape time cannot be determined by the diffusion coefficients.

  4. Abstract Cosmic-ray transport in astrophysical environments is often dominated by the diffusion of particles in a magnetic field composed of both a turbulent and a mean component. This process, which is two-fold turbulent mixing in that the particle motion is stochastic with respect to the field lines, needs to be understood in order to properly model cosmic-ray signatures. One of the most important aspects in the modeling of cosmic-ray diffusion is that fully resonant scattering, the most effective such process, is only possible if the wave spectrum covers the entire range of propagation angles. By taking the wave spectrum boundaries into account, we quantify cosmic-ray diffusion parallel and perpendicular to the guide field direction at turbulence levels above 5% of the total magnetic field. We apply our results of the parallel and perpendicular diffusion coefficient to the Milky Way. We show that simple purely diffusive transport is in conflict with observations of the inner Galaxy, but that just by taking a Galactic wind into account, data can be matched in the central 5 kpc zone. Further comparison shows that the outer Galaxy at $$>5$$ > 5  kpc, on the other hand, should be dominated by perpendicular diffusion, likely changing tomore »parallel diffusion at the outermost radii of the Milky Way.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  5. ABSTRACT Understanding the transport of energetic cosmic rays belongs to the most challenging topics in astrophysics. Diffusion due to scattering by electromagnetic fluctuations is a key process in cosmic ray transport. The transition from a ballistic to a diffusive-propagation regime is presented in direct numerical calculations of diffusion coefficients for homogeneous magnetic field lines subject to turbulent perturbations. Simulation results are compared with theoretical derivations of the parallel diffusion coefficient’s dependences on the energy and the fluctuation amplitudes in the limit of weak turbulence. The present study shows that the widely used extrapolation of the energy scaling for the parallel diffusion coefficient to high turbulence levels predicted by quasi-linear theory does not provide a universally accurate description in the resonant-scattering regime. It is highlighted here that the numerically calculated diffusion coefficients can be polluted for low energies due to missing resonant interaction possibilities of the particles with the turbulence. Five reduced-rigidity regimes are established, which are separated by analytical boundaries derived in this work. Consequently, a proper description of cosmic ray propagation can only be achieved by using a turbulence-level-dependent diffusion coefficient and can contribute to solving the Galactic cosmic ray gradient problem.