Dual Phase-space Cascades in 3D Hybrid-Vlasov-Maxwell Turbulence

S. S. Cerri, Matthew Walter Kunz, F. Califano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


To explain energy dissipation via turbulence in collisionless, magnetized plasmas, the existence of a dual real- and velocity-space cascade of ion-entropy fluctuations below the ion gyroradius has been proposed. Such a dual cascade, predicted by the gyrokinetic theory, has previously been observed in gyrokinetic simulations of two-dimensional, electrostatic turbulence. For the first time, we show evidence for a dual phase-space cascade of ion-entropy fluctuations in a three-dimensional simulation of hybrid-kinetic, electromagnetic turbulence. Some of the scalings observed in the energy spectra are consistent with a generalized theory for the cascade that accounts for the spectral anisotropy of critically balanced, intermittent, sub-ion-Larmor-scale fluctuations. The observed velocity-space cascade is also anisotropic with respect to the magnetic-field direction, with linear phase mixing along magnetic-field lines proceeding mainly at spatial scales above the ion gyroradius and nonlinear phase mixing across magnetic-field lines proceeding at perpendicular scales below the ion gyroradius. Such phase-space anisotropy could be sought in heliospheric and magnetospheric data of solar-wind turbulence and has far-reaching implications for the dissipation of turbulence in weakly collisional astrophysical plasmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • methods: numerical
  • plasmas
  • solar wind
  • turbulence


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