Discrete Particle Noise in Particle-in-Cell Simulations of Plasma Microturbulence

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Recent gyrokinetic simulations of electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence with flux-tube continuum codes vs. the global particle-in-cell (PIC) code GTC yielded different results despite similar plasma parameters. Differences between the simulations results were attributed to insufficient phase-space resolution and novel physics associated with toroidicity and/or global simulations. We have reproduced the results of the global PIC code using the flux-tube PIC code PG3EQ, thereby eliminating global effects as the cause of the discrepancy. We show that the late-time decay of ETG turbulence and the steady-state heat transport observed in these PIC simulations results from discrete particle noise. Discrete particle noise ... continued below

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PDF-file: 23 pages; size: 0.8 Mbytes

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Nevins, W M; Dimits, A & Hammett, G May 24, 2005.

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Recent gyrokinetic simulations of electron temperature gradient (ETG) turbulence with flux-tube continuum codes vs. the global particle-in-cell (PIC) code GTC yielded different results despite similar plasma parameters. Differences between the simulations results were attributed to insufficient phase-space resolution and novel physics associated with toroidicity and/or global simulations. We have reproduced the results of the global PIC code using the flux-tube PIC code PG3EQ, thereby eliminating global effects as the cause of the discrepancy. We show that the late-time decay of ETG turbulence and the steady-state heat transport observed in these PIC simulations results from discrete particle noise. Discrete particle noise is a numerical artifact, so both these PG3EQ simulations and the previous GTC simulations have nothing to say about steady-state ETG turbulence and the associated anomalous heat transport. In the course of this work we develop three diagnostics which can help to determine if a particular PIC simulation has become dominated by discrete particle noise.

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PDF-file: 23 pages; size: 0.8 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 12

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-212536
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 878221
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc877641

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  • May 24, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 10:52 a.m.

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Nevins, W M; Dimits, A & Hammett, G. Discrete Particle Noise in Particle-in-Cell Simulations of Plasma Microturbulence, article, May 24, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc877641/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.