skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit

Abstract

In space and astrophysical plasmas, turbulence is responsible for transferring energy from large scales driven by violent events or instabilities, to smaller scales where turbulent energy is ultimately converted into plasma heat by dissipative mechanisms. The nonlinear interaction between counterpropagating Alfvén waves, denoted Alfvén wave collisions, drives this turbulent energy cascade, as recognized by early work with incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations. Recent work employing analytical calculations and nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of Alfvén wave collisions in an idealized periodic initial state have demonstrated the key properties that strong Alfvén wave collisions mediate effectively the transfer of energy to smaller perpendicular scales and self-consistently generate current sheets. For the more realistic case of the collision between two initially separated Alfvén wavepackets, we use a nonlinear gyrokinetic simulation to show here that these key properties persist: strong Alfvén wavepacket collisions indeed facilitate the perpendicular cascade of energy and give rise to current sheets. Furthermore, the evolution shows that nonlinear interactions occur only while the wavepackets overlap, followed by a clean separation of the wavepackets with straight uniform magnetic fields and the cessation of nonlinear evolution in between collisions, even in the gyrokinetic simulation presented here which resolves dispersive and kinetic effects beyond the reach of the MHD theory.

Authors:
; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF); Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (United States); UT-Battelle LLC/ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN (Unted States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1538930
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0014599; AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Plasma Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 84; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3778
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Physics

Citation Formats

Verniero, J.  L., Howes, G. G., and Klein, K.  G. Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1017/s0022377817001003.
Verniero, J.  L., Howes, G. G., & Klein, K.  G. Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit. United States. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022377817001003
Verniero, J.  L., Howes, G. G., and Klein, K.  G. Wed . "Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit". United States. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022377817001003.
@article{osti_1538930,
title = {Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit},
author = {Verniero, J.  L. and Howes, G. G. and Klein, K.  G.},
abstractNote = {In space and astrophysical plasmas, turbulence is responsible for transferring energy from large scales driven by violent events or instabilities, to smaller scales where turbulent energy is ultimately converted into plasma heat by dissipative mechanisms. The nonlinear interaction between counterpropagating Alfvén waves, denoted Alfvén wave collisions, drives this turbulent energy cascade, as recognized by early work with incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations. Recent work employing analytical calculations and nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of Alfvén wave collisions in an idealized periodic initial state have demonstrated the key properties that strong Alfvén wave collisions mediate effectively the transfer of energy to smaller perpendicular scales and self-consistently generate current sheets. For the more realistic case of the collision between two initially separated Alfvén wavepackets, we use a nonlinear gyrokinetic simulation to show here that these key properties persist: strong Alfvén wavepacket collisions indeed facilitate the perpendicular cascade of energy and give rise to current sheets. Furthermore, the evolution shows that nonlinear interactions occur only while the wavepackets overlap, followed by a clean separation of the wavepackets with straight uniform magnetic fields and the cessation of nonlinear evolution in between collisions, even in the gyrokinetic simulation presented here which resolves dispersive and kinetic effects beyond the reach of the MHD theory.},
doi = {10.1017/s0022377817001003},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1538930}, journal = {Journal of Plasma Physics},
issn = {0022-3778},
number = 1,
volume = 84,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

Works referenced in this record:

Contribution of Strong Discontinuities to the Power Spectrum of the Solar Wind
journal, September 2010


Flux tube texture of the solar wind: Strands of the magnetic carpet at 1 AU?: FLUX TUBE TEXTURE OF SOLAR WIND
journal, August 2008


Particle Heating by Alfvenic Turbulence in Hot Accretion Flows
journal, June 1998


Detection of Small-Scale Structures in the Dissipation Regime of Solar-Wind Turbulence
journal, November 2012


Inertial-Range Spectrum of Hydromagnetic Turbulence
journal, January 1965


Intermittency and Local Heating in the Solar Wind
journal, June 2012


Toward a theory of interstellar turbulence. 2: Strong alfvenic turbulence
journal, January 1995


No Evidence for Heating of the Solar wind at Strong Current Sheets
journal, September 2011


Toward Astrophysical Turbulence in the Laboratory
journal, December 2012


Spectral Scaling laws in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence Simulations and in the Solar wind
journal, October 2011


Intermittent Dissipation at Kinetic Scales in Collisionless Plasma Turbulence
journal, November 2012


Revisiting a Classic: the Parker–Moffatt Problem
journal, January 2017


Current Sheets and Collisionless Damping in Kinetic Plasma Turbulence
journal, June 2013


Anisotropic Modal Energy Transfer in Interstellar Turbulence
journal, July 1995


Linearized model Fokker–Planck collision operators for gyrokinetic simulations. I. Theory
journal, December 2008


Alfvén wave collisions, the fundamental building block of plasma turbulence. II. Numerical solution
journal, July 2013


Selective Decay Hypothesis at high Mechanical and Magnetic Reynolds Numbers*
journal, December 1980


A hybrid-Vlasov model based on the current advance method for the simulation of collisionless magnetized plasma
journal, July 2007


Toward a theory of interstellar turbulence. 1: Weak Alfvenic turbulence
journal, September 1994


Helical and Nonhelical Turbulent Dynamos
journal, October 1981


Coherent structures, intermittent turbulence, and dissipation in high-temperature plasmas
journal, January 2013


Alfvén wave collisions, the fundamental building block of plasma turbulence. IV. Laboratory experiment
journal, July 2013


The Dynamical Generation of Current Sheets in Astrophysical Plasma Turbulence
journal, August 2016


The development of magnetic field line wander by plasma turbulence
journal, August 2017


Simulations of Incompressible Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence
journal, June 2001


Statistical Analysis of Current Sheets in Three-Dimensional Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence
journal, June 2013


Magnetic Reconnection and Intermittent Turbulence in the Solar Wind
journal, May 2014


Evidence for Inhomogeneous Heating in the Solar wind
journal, December 2010


Nonlinear energy transfer and current sheet development in localized Alfvén wavepacket collisions in the strong turbulence limit
journal, January 2018


Intermittent Heating in Solar wind and Kinetic Simulations
journal, January 2013


Astrophysical Gyrokinetics: Basic Equations and Linear Theory
journal, November 2006


AstroGK: Astrophysical gyrokinetics code
journal, December 2010


Measurements of the nonlinear beat wave produced by the interaction of counterpropagating Alfvén waves
journal, February 2016


Analysis of Magnetic Fields in Inertial Alfvén Wave Collisions
journal, October 2014


A weak turbulence theory for incompressible magnetohydrodynamics
journal, June 2000


Magnetic Discontinuities in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence and in the Solar Wind
journal, April 2012