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Title: Fully Kinetic Large-scale Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability

Abstract

We present two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of the fully kinetic collisionless magnetorotational instability (MRI) in weakly magnetized (high β) pair plasma. The central result of this numerical analysis is the emergence of a self-induced turbulent regime in the saturation state of the collisionless MRI, which can only be captured for large enough simulation domains. One of the underlying mechanisms for the development of this turbulent state is the drift-kink instability (DKI) of the current sheets resulting from the nonlinear evolution of the channel modes. The onset of the DKI can only be observed for simulation domain sizes exceeding several linear MRI wavelengths. The DKI and ensuing magnetic reconnection activate the turbulent motion of the plasma in the late stage of the nonlinear evolution of the MRI. At steady-state, the magnetic energy has an MHD-like spectrum with a slope of k –5/3 for kρ < 1 and k –3 for sub-Larmor scale (kρ > 1). We also examine the role of the collisionless MRI and associated magnetic reconnection in the development of pressure anisotropy. We study the stability of the system due to this pressure anisotropy, observing the development of mirror instability during the early-stage of the MRI. We further discuss themore » importance of magnetic reconnection for particle acceleration during the turbulence regime. Furthermore, consistent with reconnection studies, we show that at late times the kinetic energy presents a characteristic slope of ϵ –2 in the high-energy region.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4];  [2]
  1. Univ. de Lisboa, Lisboa (Portugal); Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Univ. de Lisboa, Lisboa (Portugal)
  3. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  4. Univ. de Lisboa, Lisboa (Portugal); DCTI/ISCTE Instituto Univ. de Lisboa, Lisboa (Portugal)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1542025
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-91ER54109
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 859; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Astronomy & Astrophysics; accretion; accretion disks; instabilities; magnetic reconnection; plasmas; turbulence

Citation Formats

Inchingolo, Giannandrea, Grismayer, Thomas, Loureiro, Nuno F., Fonseca, Ricardo A., and Silva, Luis O. Fully Kinetic Large-scale Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aac0f2.
Inchingolo, Giannandrea, Grismayer, Thomas, Loureiro, Nuno F., Fonseca, Ricardo A., & Silva, Luis O. Fully Kinetic Large-scale Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aac0f2.
Inchingolo, Giannandrea, Grismayer, Thomas, Loureiro, Nuno F., Fonseca, Ricardo A., and Silva, Luis O. Mon . "Fully Kinetic Large-scale Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aac0f2. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1542025.
@article{osti_1542025,
title = {Fully Kinetic Large-scale Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability},
author = {Inchingolo, Giannandrea and Grismayer, Thomas and Loureiro, Nuno F. and Fonseca, Ricardo A. and Silva, Luis O.},
abstractNote = {We present two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of the fully kinetic collisionless magnetorotational instability (MRI) in weakly magnetized (high β) pair plasma. The central result of this numerical analysis is the emergence of a self-induced turbulent regime in the saturation state of the collisionless MRI, which can only be captured for large enough simulation domains. One of the underlying mechanisms for the development of this turbulent state is the drift-kink instability (DKI) of the current sheets resulting from the nonlinear evolution of the channel modes. The onset of the DKI can only be observed for simulation domain sizes exceeding several linear MRI wavelengths. The DKI and ensuing magnetic reconnection activate the turbulent motion of the plasma in the late stage of the nonlinear evolution of the MRI. At steady-state, the magnetic energy has an MHD-like spectrum with a slope of k –5/3 for kρ < 1 and k –3 for sub-Larmor scale (kρ > 1). We also examine the role of the collisionless MRI and associated magnetic reconnection in the development of pressure anisotropy. We study the stability of the system due to this pressure anisotropy, observing the development of mirror instability during the early-stage of the MRI. We further discuss the importance of magnetic reconnection for particle acceleration during the turbulence regime. Furthermore, consistent with reconnection studies, we show that at late times the kinetic energy presents a characteristic slope of ϵ –2 in the high-energy region.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/aac0f2},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 859,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

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Cited by: 4 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Time evolution of the domain-averaged magnetic energy fluctuation $\langle\delta{B}^2\rangle$ for different simulation domains. The green dashed lines represent, respectively, the times T1=2P0, T2=2.8P0, T3=3.1P0 and T4=5.4P0.

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journal, February 1993

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journal, May 2000

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Particle Acceleration During Magnetorotational Instability in a Collisionless Accretion disk
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Kinetic Simulations of Magnetized Turbulence in Astrophysical Plasmas
journal, February 2008


Inertial-range kinetic turbulence in pressure-anisotropic astrophysical plasmas
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Firehose and Mirror Instabilities in a Collisionless Shearing Plasma
journal, May 2014


Magnetorotational Turbulence and Dynamo in a Collisionless Plasma
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Scaling of Magnetic Reconnection in Relativistic Collisionless Pair Plasmas
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Disruption of Alfvénic turbulence by magnetic reconnection in a collisionless plasma
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On the Saturation of the Magnetorotational Instability via Parasitic Modes
journal, May 2009


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journal, February 2000

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Mirror instability at finite ion-Larmor radius wavelengths
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Local Two-Dimensional Particle-In-Cell Simulations of the Collisionless Magnetorotational Instability
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  • Riquelme, Mario A.; Quataert, Eliot; Sharma, Prateek
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 755, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/755/1/50

Particle-In-Cell Simulations of Continuously Driven Mirror and ion Cyclotron Instabilities in high beta Astrophysical and Heliospheric Plasmas
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Relativistic Reconnection: an Efficient Source of Non-Thermal Particles
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The Extent of Power-Law Energy Spectra in Collisionless Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in pair Plasmas
journal, December 2015


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Onset of magnetic reconnection in a collisionless, high- plasma
    journal, February 2019


    Turbulence in Magnetized Pair Plasmas
    journal, October 2018


    Shearing-box simulations of MRI-driven turbulence in weakly collisional accretion discs
    journal, May 2019

    • Kempski, Philipp; Quataert, Eliot; Squire, Jonathan
    • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 486, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz1111