Characterizing fluid and kinetic instabilities using field-particle correlations on single-point time series

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A recently proposed technique correlating electric fields and particle velocity distributions is applied to single-point time series extracted from linearly unstable, electrostatic numerical simulations. The form of the correlation, which measures the transfer of phase-space energy density between the electric field and plasma distributions and that had previously been applied to damped electrostatic systems, is modified to include the effects of drifting equilibrium distributions of the type that drive counter-streaming and bump-on-tail instabilities. By using single-point time series, the correlation is ideal for diagnosing dynamics in systems where access to integrated quantities, such as energy, is observationally infeasible. The velocity-space structure of the field-particle correlation is shown to characterize the underlying physical mechanisms driving unstable systems. The use of this correlation in simple systems will assist in its eventual application to turbulent, magnetized plasmas, with the ultimate goal of characterizing the nature of mechanisms that damp turbulent fluctuations in the solar wind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055901
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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