Determining the physical mechanisms that extract energy from turbulent fluctuations in weakly collisional magnetized plasmas is necessary for a more complete characterization of the behavior of a variety of space and astrophysical plasmas. Such a determination is complicated by the complex nature of the turbulence as well as observational constraints, chiefly that in situ measurements of such plasmas are typically only available at a single point in space. Recent work has shown that correlations between electric fields and particle velocity distributions constructed from single-point measurements produce a velocity-dependent signature of the collisionless damping mechanism. We extend this work by constructing field-particle correlations using data sets drawn from single points in strongly driven, turbulent, electromagnetic gyrokinetic simulations to demonstrate that this technique can identify the collisionless mechanisms operating in such systems. The correlation’s velocity-space structure agrees with expectations of resonant mechanisms transferring energy collisionlessly in turbulent systems. This work motivates the eventual application of field-particle correlations to spacecraft measurements in the solar wind, with the ultimate goal to determine the physical mechanisms that dissipate magnetized plasma turbulence.
K. Klein, G. Howes and J. TenBarge
Fri, 19 May 17
Comments: 24 pages, 12 figures, submitted to the Journal of Plasma Physics