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Wavenumber spectrum of whistler turbulence: Particle-in-cell simulation

Wavenumber spectrum of whistler turbulence: Particle-in-cell simulation

Publication date: 28 December 2010

Authors: Saito, S., et al.

Journal: Physics of Plasmas
Volume: 17
Issue: 12
Page: 122316
Year: 2010

Copyright: AIP

The forward cascade of decaying whistler turbulence is studied in low beta plasma to understand essential properties of the energy spectrum at electron scales, by using a two-dimensional electromagnetic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. This simulation demonstrates turbulence in which the energy cascade rate is greater than the dissipation rate at the electron inertial length. The PIC simulation shows that the magnetic energy spectrum of forward-cascaded whistler turbulence at electron inertial scales is anisotropic and develops a very steep power-law spectrum which is consistent with recent solar wind observations. A comparison of the simulated spectrum with that predicted by a phenomenological turbulence scaling model suggests that the energy cascade at the electron inertial scale depends on both magnetic fluctuations and electron velocity fluctuations, as well as on the whistler dispersion relation. Thus, not only kinetic Alfvén turbulence but also whistler turbulence may explain recent solar wind observations of very steep magnetic spectra at short scales.

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