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  1. The Dougherty model Fokker–Planck operator is extended to describe nonlinear full- $f$ (  f is the distribution function) collisions between multiple species in plasmas. Simple relations for cross-species primitive moments are developed which obey conservation laws, and reproduce familiar velocity and temperature relaxation rates. This treatment of multispecies Dougherty collisions, valid for arbitrary mass ratios, avoids unphysical temperatures and satisfies the $H$ -theorem ( H is related to the entropy) unlike an analogous Bhatnagar–Gross–Krook operator. Formulas for both a Cartesian velocity space and a gyroaveraged operator are provided for use in Vlasov as well as long-wavelength gyrokinetic models. We present an algorithm for the discontinuous Galerkin discretization of this operator, and provide results from relaxation and Landau damping benchmarks.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. We present the first-of-its-kind coupling of a continuum full- f gyrokinetic turbulence model with a 6D continuum model for kinetic neutrals, carried out using the Gkeyll code. Our objective is to improve the first-principle understanding of the role of neutrals in plasma fueling, detachment, and their interaction with edge plasma profiles and turbulence statistics. Our model includes only atomic hydrogen and incorporates electron-impact ionization, charge exchange, and wall recycling. These features have been successfully verified with analytical predictions and benchmarked with the DEGAS2 Monte Carlo neutral code. We carry out simulations for a scrape-off layer (SOL) with simplified geometry and National Spherical Torus Experiment parameters. We compare these results to a baseline simulation without neutrals and find that neutral interactions reduce the normalized density fluctuation levels and associated skewness and kurtosis, while increasing auto-correlation times. A flatter density profile is also observed, similar to the SOL density shoulder formation in experimental scenarios with high fueling.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Electron holes (EH) are localized modes in plasma kinetic theory which appear as vortices in phase space. Earlier research on EH is based on the Schamel distribution function (df). A novel df is proposed here, generalizing the original Schamel df in a recursive manner. Nonlinear solutions obtained by kinetic simulations are presented, with velocities twice the electron thermal speed. Using 1D-1V kinetic simulations, their propagation characteristics are traced and their stability is established by studying their long-time evolution and their behavior through mutual collisions.
  4. Alfvén wave collisions are the primary building blocks of the non-relativistic turbulence that permeates the heliosphere and low- to moderate-energy astrophysical systems. However, many astrophysical systems such as gamma-ray bursts, pulsar and magnetar magnetospheres and active galactic nuclei have relativistic flows or energy densities. To better understand these high-energy systems, we derive reduced relativistic magnetohydrodynamics equations and employ them to examine weak Alfvénic turbulence, dominated by three-wave interactions, in reduced relativistic magnetohydrodynamics, including the force-free, infinitely magnetized limit. We compare both numerical and analytical solutions to demonstrate that many of the findings from non-relativistic weak turbulence are retained in relativistic systems. But, an important distinction in the relativistic limit is the inapplicability of a formally incompressible limit, i.e. there exists finite coupling to the compressible fast mode regardless of the strength of the magnetic field. Since fast modes can propagate across field lines, this mechanism provides a route for energy to escape strongly magnetized systems, e.g. magnetar magnetospheres. However, we find that the fast-Alfvén coupling is diminished in the limit of oblique propagation.
  5. Alfvén waves as excited in black hole accretion disks and neutron star magnetospheres are the building blocks of turbulence in relativistic, magnetized plasmas. A large reservoir of magnetic energy is available in these systems, such that the plasma can be heated significantly even in the weak turbulence regime. We perform high-resolution three-dimensional simulations of counter-propagating Alfvén waves, showing that an $E_{B_{\perp }}(k_{\perp }) \propto k_{\perp }^{-2}$ energy spectrum develops as a result of the weak turbulence cascade in relativistic magnetohydrodynamics and its infinitely magnetized (force-free) limit. The plasma turbulence ubiquitously generates current sheets, which act as locations where magnetic energy dissipates. We show that current sheets form as a natural result of nonlinear interactions between counter-propagating Alfvén waves. These current sheets form owing to the compression of elongated eddies, driven by the shear induced by growing higher-order modes, and undergo a thinning process until they break-up into small-scale turbulent structures. We explore the formation of current sheets both in overlapping waves and in localized wave packet collisions. The relativistic interaction of localized Alfvén waves induces both Alfvén waves and fast waves, and efficiently mediates the conversion and dissipation of electromagnetic energy in astrophysical systems. Plasma energization through reconnection in currentmore »sheets emerging during the interaction of Alfvén waves can potentially explain X-ray emission in black hole accretion coronae and neutron star magnetospheres.« less
  6. Using the field–particle correlation technique, we examine the particle energization in a three-dimensional (one spatial dimension and two velocity dimensions; 1D-2V) continuum Vlasov–Maxwell simulation of a perpendicular magnetized collisionless shock. The combination of the field–particle correlation technique with the high-fidelity representation of the particle distribution function provided by a direct discretization of the Vlasov equation allows us to ascertain the details of the exchange of energy between the electromagnetic fields and the particles in phase space. We identify the velocity-space signatures of shock-drift acceleration of the ions and adiabatic heating of the electrons arising from the perpendicular collisionless shock by constructing a simplified model with the minimum ingredients necessary to produce the observed energization signatures in the self-consistent Vlasov–Maxwell simulation. We are thus able to completely characterize the energy transfer in the perpendicular collisionless shock considered here and provide predictions for the application of the field–particle correlation technique to spacecraft measurements of collisionless shocks.
  7. 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 transfer 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, thusmore »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