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Title: Spatially localized particle energization by Landau damping in current sheets produced by strong Alfvén wave collisions

Abstract

Understanding the removal of energy from turbulent fluctuations in a magnetized plasma and the consequent energization of the constituent plasma particles is a major goal of heliophysics and astrophysics. Previous work has shown that nonlinear interactions among counterpropagating Alfvén waves – or Alfvén wave collisions – are the fundamental building block of astrophysical plasma turbulence and naturally generate current sheets in the strongly nonlinear limit. A nonlinear gyrokinetic simulation of a strong Alfvén wave collision is used to examine the damping of the electromagnetic fluctuations and the associated energization of particles that occurs in self-consistently generated current sheets. A simple model explains the flow of energy due to the collisionless damping and the associated particle energization, as well as the subsequent thermalization of the particle energy by collisions. The net particle energization by the parallel electric field is shown to be spatially localized, and the nonlinear evolution is essential in enabling spatial non-uniformity. Using the recently developed field–particle correlation technique, we show that particles resonant with the Alfvén waves in the simulation dominate the energy transfer, demonstrating conclusively that Landau damping plays a key role in the spatially localized damping of the electromagnetic fluctuations and consequent energization of the particles in this strongly nonlinearmore » simulation.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1538933
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0014599
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

Howes, Gregory G., McCubbin, Andrew J., and Klein, Kristopher G. Spatially localized particle energization by Landau damping in current sheets produced by strong Alfvén wave collisions. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1017/s0022377818000053.
Howes, Gregory G., McCubbin, Andrew J., & Klein, Kristopher G. Spatially localized particle energization by Landau damping in current sheets produced by strong Alfvén wave collisions. United States. doi:10.1017/s0022377818000053.
Howes, Gregory G., McCubbin, Andrew J., and Klein, Kristopher G. Wed . "Spatially localized particle energization by Landau damping in current sheets produced by strong Alfvén wave collisions". United States. doi:10.1017/s0022377818000053.
@article{osti_1538933,
title = {Spatially localized particle energization by Landau damping in current sheets produced by strong Alfvén wave collisions},
author = {Howes, Gregory G. and McCubbin, Andrew J. and Klein, Kristopher G.},
abstractNote = {Understanding the removal of energy from turbulent fluctuations in a magnetized plasma and the consequent energization of the constituent plasma particles is a major goal of heliophysics and astrophysics. Previous work has shown that nonlinear interactions among counterpropagating Alfvén waves – or Alfvén wave collisions – are the fundamental building block of astrophysical plasma turbulence and naturally generate current sheets in the strongly nonlinear limit. A nonlinear gyrokinetic simulation of a strong Alfvén wave collision is used to examine the damping of the electromagnetic fluctuations and the associated energization of particles that occurs in self-consistently generated current sheets. A simple model explains the flow of energy due to the collisionless damping and the associated particle energization, as well as the subsequent thermalization of the particle energy by collisions. The net particle energization by the parallel electric field is shown to be spatially localized, and the nonlinear evolution is essential in enabling spatial non-uniformity. Using the recently developed field–particle correlation technique, we show that particles resonant with the Alfvén waves in the simulation dominate the energy transfer, demonstrating conclusively that Landau damping plays a key role in the spatially localized damping of the electromagnetic fluctuations and consequent energization of the particles in this strongly nonlinear simulation.},
doi = {10.1017/s0022377818000053},
journal = {Journal of Plasma Physics},
issn = {0022-3778},
number = 1,
volume = 84,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

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