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Universality of Solar-Wind Turbulent Spectrum from MHD to Electron Scales

Universality of Solar-Wind Turbulent Spectrum from MHD to Electron Scales

Publication date: 15 October 2009

Authors: O. Alexandrova, et al.

Journal: Phys. Rev. Lett.
Volume: 103
Issue: 16
ID: 165003
Year: 2009

Copyright: The American Physical Society

To investigate the universality of magnetic turbulence in space plasmas, we analyze seven time periods in the free solar wind under different plasma conditions. Three instruments on Cluster spacecraft operating in different frequency ranges give us the possibility to resolve spectra up to 300 Hz. We show that the spectra form a quasiuniversal spectrum following the Kolmogorov's law ~k-5/3 at MHD scales, a ~k-2.8 power law at ion scales, and an exponential ~exp[-sqrt(k rhoe)] at scales k rhoe~[0.1,1], where rhoe is the electron gyroradius. This is the first observation of an exponential magnetic spectrum in space plasmas that may indicate the onset of dissipation. We distinguish for the first time between the role of different spatial kinetic plasma scales and show that the electron Larmor radius plays the role of a dissipation scale in space plasma turbulence.

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