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Title: Scaling laws in magnetized plasma turbulence

Interactions of plasma motion with magnetic fields occur in nature and in the laboratory in an impressively broad range of scales, from megaparsecs in astrophysical systems to centimeters in fusion devices. The fact that such an enormous array of phenomena can be effectively studied lies in the existence of fundamental scaling laws in plasma turbulence, which allow one to scale the results of analytic and numerical modeling to the sized of galaxies, velocities of supernovae explosions, or magnetic fields in fusion devices. Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) provides the simplest framework for describing magnetic plasma turbulence. Recently, a number of new features of MHD turbulence have been discovered and an impressive array of thought-provoking phenomenological theories have been put forward. However, these theories have conflicting predictions, and the currently available numerical simulations are not able to resolve the contradictions. MHD turbulence exhibits a variety of regimes unusual in regular hydrodynamic turbulence. Depending on the strength of the guide magnetic field it can be dominated by weakly interacting Alfv\'en waves or strongly interacting wave packets. At small scales such turbulence is locally anisotropic and imbalanced (cross-helical). In a stark contrast with hydrodynamic turbulence, which tends to ``forget'' global constrains and become uniform and isotropicmore » at small scales, MHD turbulence becomes progressively more anisotropic and unbalanced at small scales. Magnetic field plays a fundamental role in turbulent dynamics. Even when such a field is not imposed by external sources, it is self-consistently generated by the magnetic dynamo action. This project aims at a comprehensive study of universal regimes of magnetic plasma turbulence, combining the modern analytic approaches with the state of the art numerical simulations. The proposed study focuses on the three topics: weak MHD turbulence, which is relevant for laboratory devices, the solar wind, solar corona heating, and planetary magnetospheres; strong MHD turbulence, which is relevant for fusion devices, star formation, cosmic rays acceleration, scattering and trapping in galaxies, as well as many aspects of dynamics, distribution and composition of space plasmas, and the process of magnetic dynamo action, which explains the generation and the structure of magnetic fields in turbulent plasmas. The planned work will aim at developing new analytic approaches, conducting new numerical simulations with currently unmatched resolution, and training students in the methods of the modern theory of plasma turbulence. The work will be performed at the University of Wisconsin--Madison.« less
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
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Technical Report
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Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
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United States