Gyrokinetic Electron and Fully Kinetic Ion Particle Simulation of Collisionless Plasma Dynamics

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Fully kinetic-particle simulations and hybrid simulations have been utilized for decades to investigate various fundamental plasma processes, such as magnetic reconnection, fast compressional waves, and wave-particle interaction. Nevertheless, due to disparate temporal and spatial scales between electrons and ions, existing fully kinetic-particle codes have to employ either unrealistically high electron-to-ion mass ratio, me/mi, or simulation domain limited to a few or a few ten's of the ion Larmor radii, or/and time much less than the global Alfven time scale in order to accommodate available computing resources. On the other hand, in the hybrid simulation, the ions are treated as fully ... continued below

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Lin, Yu; Wang, Xueyi; Chen, Liu & Lin, Zhihong August 11, 2009.

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Fully kinetic-particle simulations and hybrid simulations have been utilized for decades to investigate various fundamental plasma processes, such as magnetic reconnection, fast compressional waves, and wave-particle interaction. Nevertheless, due to disparate temporal and spatial scales between electrons and ions, existing fully kinetic-particle codes have to employ either unrealistically high electron-to-ion mass ratio, me/mi, or simulation domain limited to a few or a few ten's of the ion Larmor radii, or/and time much less than the global Alfven time scale in order to accommodate available computing resources. On the other hand, in the hybrid simulation, the ions are treated as fully kinetic particles but the electrons are treated as a massless fluid. The electron kinetic effects, e.g., wave-particle resonances and finite electron Larmor radius effects, are completely missing. Important physics, such as the electron transit time damping of fast compressional waves or the triggering mechanism of magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasmas is absent in the hybrid codes. Motivated by these considerations and noting that dynamics of interest to us has frequencies lower than the electron gyrofrequency, we planned to develop an innovative particle simulation model, gyrokinetic (GK) electrons and fully kinetic (FK) ions. In the GK-electron and FK-ion (GKe/FKi) particle simulation model, the rapid electron cyclotron motion is removed, while keeping finite electron Larmor radii, realistic me/mi ratio, wave-particle interactions, and off-diagonal components of electron pressure tensor. The computation power can thus be significantly improved over that of the full-particle codes. As planned in the project DE-FG02-05ER54826, we have finished the development of the new GK-electron and FK-ion scheme, finished its benchmark for a uniform plasma in 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D systems against linear waves obtained from analytical theories, and carried out a further convergence test and benchmark for a 2-D Harris current sheet against tearing mode and other instabilities in linear theories/models. More importantly, we have, for the first time, carried out simulation of linear instabilities in a 2-D Harris current sheet with a broad range of guide field BG and the realistic mi/me, and obtained important new results of current sheet instabilities in the presence of a finite BG. Indeed the code has accurately reproduced waves of interest here, such as kinetic Alfven waves, compressional Alfven/whistler wave, and lower-hybrid/modified two-stream waves. Moreover, this simulation scheme is capable of investigating collisionless kinetic physics relevant to magnetic reconnection in the fusion plasmas, in a global scale system for a long-time evolution and, thereby, produce significant new physics compared with both full-particle and hybrid codes. The results, with mi/me=1836 and moderate to large BG as in the real laboratory devices, have not been obtained in previous theory and simulations. The new simulation model will contribute significantly not only to the understanding of fundamental fusion (and space) plasma physics but also to DOE's SciDAC initiative by further pushing the frontiers of simulating realistic fusion plasmas.

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  • Report No.: DE-FG02-05ER54826
  • Grant Number: FG02-05ER54826
  • DOI: 10.2172/962209 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962209
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931922

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  • August 11, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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Lin, Yu; Wang, Xueyi; Chen, Liu & Lin, Zhihong. Gyrokinetic Electron and Fully Kinetic Ion Particle Simulation of Collisionless Plasma Dynamics, report, August 11, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931922/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.