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Dipartimento di Fisica

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The kinetic nature of turbulence at short scales in the solar wind
Autori Autori: Valentini F., Califano F., Veltri P.
Rivista Rivista: Journal of Geophysical Research
     Anno: 2011
Abstract Abstract:

The analysis of the transition from the large-scale fluid regime to the short-scale kinetic range of wavelengths in the development of the turbulent cascade of energy is nowadays subject of fervent discussion in the space plasmas scientific community. We make use of Hybrid Vlasov–Maxwell simulations where the full kinetic dynamics of ions is taken into account, while electrons are treated as a fluid. We investigate the development of turbulence in the solar wind, in 1D–3V phase space configuration and in the frequency range across the ion cyclotron frequency. These simulations allow for the analysis of the role of kinetic effects in the short-scale region of the energy spectra in the direction parallel to the background magnetic field. Our numerical results show the presence of a significant electrostatic activity at small wavelengths, triggered by the resonant interaction of ions with longitudinal waves. Our model does not allow to take into account the evolution of the turbulent spectra in the plane perpendicular to the ambient field, due to limited dimensionality in phase space. On the other hand, this model permits to isolate and study the possibility of transferring the electromagnetic large-scale energy on the small-scale kinetic electrostatic component of the spectrum. Peculiar features observed in the spacecraft data in the solar wind are qualitatively reproduced within the hybrid-Vlasov model, such as the generation of perpendicular temperature anisotropy and accelerated longitudinal beams of ions in the distribution of particle velocities as well as the appearance of a marked peak of electrostatic activity in the short-scale termination of the turbulent spectra.