Kinetic simulations of magnetized turbulence in astrophysical plasmas

G. G. Howes, W. Dorland, S. C. Cowley, G. W. Hammett, E. Quataert, A. A. Schekochihin, T. Tatsuno

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267 Scopus citations


This Letter presents the first ab initio, fully electromagnetic, kinetic simulations of magnetized turbulence in a homogeneous, weakly collisional plasma at the scale of the ion Larmor radius (ion gyroscale). Magnetic- and electric-field energy spectra show a break at the ion gyroscale; the spectral slopes are consistent with scaling predictions for critically balanced turbulence of Alfvén waves above the ion gyroscale (spectral index -5/3) and of kinetic Alfvén waves below the ion gyroscale (spectral indices of -7/3 for magnetic and -1/3 for electric fluctuations). This behavior is also qualitatively consistent with in situ measurements of turbulence in the solar wind. Our findings support the hypothesis that the frequencies of turbulent fluctuations in the solar wind remain well below the ion cyclotron frequency both above and below the ion gyroscale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number065004
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 14 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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