Effects of parallel dynamics on vortex structures in electron temperature gradient driven turbulence

Nakata, M.; Watanabe, T.-H.; Sugama, H.; Horton, W.
January 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Jan2011, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p012303
Academic Journal
Vortex structures and related heat transport properties in slab electron temperature gradient (ETG) driven turbulence are comprehensively investigated by means of nonlinear gyrokinetic Vlasov simulations, with the aim of elucidating the underlying physical mechanisms of the transition from turbulent to coherent states. Numerical results show three different types of vortex structures, i.e., coherent vortex streets accompanied with the transport reduction, turbulent vortices with steady transport, and a zonal-flow-dominated state, depending on the relative magnitude of the parallel compression to the diamagnetic drift. In particular, the formation of coherent vortex streets is correlated with the strong generation of zonal flows for the cases with weak parallel compression, even though the maximum growth rate of linear ETG modes is relatively large. The zonal flow generation in the ETG turbulence is investigated by the modulational instability analysis with a truncated fluid model, where the parallel dynamics such as acoustic modes for electrons is incorporated. The modulational instability for zonal flows is found to be stabilized by the effect of the finite parallel compression. The theoretical analysis qualitatively agrees with secondary growth of zonal flows found in the slab ETG turbulence simulations, where the transition of vortex structures is observed.


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