Resolving velocity space dynamics in continuum gyrokinetics

Barnes, M.; Dorland, W.; Tatsuno, T.
March 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2010, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p032106
Academic Journal
Many plasmas of interest to the astrophysical and fusion communities are weakly collisional. In such plasmas, small scales can develop in the distribution of particle velocities, potentially affecting observable quantities such as turbulent fluxes. Consequently, it is necessary to monitor velocity space resolution in gyrokinetic simulations. In this paper, we present a set of computationally efficient diagnostics for measuring velocity space resolution in gyrokinetic simulations and apply them to a range of plasma physics phenomena using the continuum gyrokinetic code GS2. For the cases considered here, it is found that the use of a collisionality at or below experimental values allows for the resolution of plasma dynamics with relatively few velocity space grid points. Additionally, we describe the implementation of an adaptive collision frequency, which can be used to improve velocity space resolution in the collisionless regime, where results are expected to be independent of collision frequency.


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