Statistical origin and properties of kappa distributions

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16 Scopus citations


Classical particle systems reside at thermal equilibrium with their velocity distribution function stabilized into a Maxwell distribution. On the contrary, collisionless and correlated particle systems, such as space and astrophysical plasmas, are characterized by a non-Maxwellian behavior, typically described by kappa distributions, or combinations thereof. Empirical kappa distributions have become increasingly widespread across space and plasma physics. A breakthrough in the field came with the connection of kappa distributions to non-extensive statistical mechanics. Understanding the statistical origin of kappa distributions was the cornerstone of further theoretical developments and applications, namely, (i) the concept of temperature; (ii) the physical meaning of the kappa index; (iii) the N-particle description of kappa distributions; and the (iv) the generalization to phase-space kappa distribution of a Hamiltonian with non-zero potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012014
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 26 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event16th Annual International Astrophysics Conference: Turbulence, Structures, and Particle Acceleration Throughout the Heliosphere and Beyond, AIAC 2017 - Santa Fe, United States
Duration: Mar 6 2017Mar 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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