A Drift-Kinetic Method for Obtaining Gradients in Plasma Properties From Single-Point Distribution Function Data

Blake Wetherton, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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I present a new method to determine gradients in plasma properties based on a velocity space distribution measured at a single spatial point. The drift-kinetic model shows that gradients are intrinsically related to agyrotropic features of the distribution function (those that are not symmetric about the local magnetic field). The method allows for estimates on density and pressure gradients on the scale of a Larmor radius, proving to resolve smaller scales than any method currently available to spacecraft. The model is verified with a set of fully-kinetic VPIC particle-in-cell simulations.

Abstract Author(s): Blake Wetherton, Jan Egedal, Peter Montag, Ari Le, William Daughton