Intermittency, coherent structures and dissipation in plasma turbulence

M. Wan, W. H. Matthaeus, V. Roytershteyn, T. N. Parashar, P. Wu, H. Karimabadi

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48 Citations (Scopus)
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Collisionless dissipation in turbulent plasmas such as the solar wind and the solar corona has been an intensively studied subject recently, with new insights often emerging from numerical simulation. Here we report results from high resolution, fully kinetic simulations of plasma turbulence in both two (2D) and three (3D) dimensions, studying the relationship between intermittency and dissipation. The simulations show development of turbulent coherent structures, characterized by sheet-like current density structures spanning a range of scales. An approximate dissipation measure is employed, based on work done by the electromagnetic field in the local electron fluid frame. This surrogate dissipation measure is highly concentrated in small subvolumes in both 2D and 3D simulations. Fully kinetic simulations are also compared with magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations in terms of coherent structures and dissipation. The interesting result emerges that the conditional averages of dissipation measure scale very similarly with normalized current density J in 2D and 3D particle-in-cell and in MHD. To the extent that the surrogate dissipation measure is accurate, this result implies that on average dissipation scales as ∼J2 in turbulent kinetic plasma. Multifractal intermittency is seen in the inertial range in both 2D and 3D, but at scales ∼ion inertial length, the scaling is closer to monofractal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042307
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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