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Kinetic turbulence: a nonlinear route to dissipation through phase space

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The Nature of High Reynolds Number Turbulence

This talk will describe a conceptual framework for understanding kinetic plasma turbulence as a generalized form of energy cascade in phase space. It is emphasized that conversion of turbulent energy into thermodynamic heat is only achievable in the presence of some (possibly arbitrarily small) degree of collisionality. The smallness of the collision rate is compensated by the emergence of small-scale structure in the velocity space. For gyrokinetic turbulence, a nonlinear perpendicular phase mixing mechanism is identified and described as a turbulent cascade of entropy fluctuations simultaneously occurring in the gyrocentre space and in velocity space. Scaling relations for the corresponding fluctuation spectra are derived. An estimate for the collisional cutoff is provided. The relevance of these results to understanding the dissipation-range turbulence in the solar wind and the electrostatic microturbulence in fusion plasmas is discussed. Related Links * – preprint

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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