skip to main content


Title: An equilibrium-preserving discretization for the nonlinear Rosenbluth–Fokker–Planck operator in arbitrary multi-dimensional geometry

Here, the Fokker–Planck collision operator is an advection-diffusion operator which describe dynamical systems such as weakly coupled plasmas, photonics in high temperature environment biological, and even social systems. For plasmas in the continuum, the Fokker–Planck collision operator supports such important physical properties as conservation of number, momentum, and energy, as well as positivity. It also obeys the Boltzmann's H-theorem, i.e., the operator increases the system entropy while simultaneously driving the distribution function towards a Maxwellian. In the discrete, when these properties are not ensured, numerical simulations can either fail catastrophically or suffer from significant numerical pollution. There is strong emphasis in the literature on developing numerical techniques to solve the Fokker–Planck equation while preserving these properties. In this short note, we focus on the analytical equilibrium preserving property, meaning that the Fokker–Planck collision operator vanishes when acting on an analytical Maxwellian distribution function. The equilibrium preservation property is especially important, for example, when one is attempting to capture subtle transport physics. Since transport arises from small Ο(ϵ) corrections to the equilibrium (where ϵ is a small expansion parameter), numerical truncation error present in the equilibrium solution may dominate, overwhelming transport dynamics.
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9991
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Computational Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 339; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9991
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; Mathematics; Conservative discretization; Exact analytical equilibrium preserving; Multiple dimensions; Fokker–Planck; Rosenbluth potentials
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396735