Kinetic approach to Microscopic-Macroscopic Coupling in Fusion Plasmas

Speaker: Dr. Giovanni Lapenta, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos Nationa Laboratory


The need to handle the coupling between microscopic and macroscopic processes in plasma physics is ubiquitous.
The wide difference in mass between electrons and ions and the great change in time and space scales between large scale magnetohydrodynamic processes and small scale kinetic effects pose a great challenge to the simulation of plasma physics problems.
The traditional approach has been to try to derive reduced models of the full first principle physics model and solve them considering only the scales of interest. The approach decouples the simulation of small scales and large scales and uses different methods to treat both. The classic example is anomalous resistivity that is used as a tool to summarise in resistive MHD models the presence of kinetic microinstabilities.
We propose an alternative approach, the use of the implicit kinetic PIC model to resolve all scales at the kinetic level. The approach relies on numerical methods that can effectively average the smallest scales within a correct kinetic treatment while focusing on large-scale structures. We remark that the approach is different from the gyrokinetic approach that relies on a mathematical formulation of the equations that eliminates the smallest scales. Our approach, instead, is valid on all limits and does not eliminate the contribution of any scale.
After describing the approach, we present a specific example of its application: the study of current sheets evolution and reconnection.

Last modified: Thu Mar 23 18:20:47 EST 2006