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Kinetic properties of particle-in-cell simulations compromised by Monte Carlo collisions

Turner, Miles M. (2006) Kinetic properties of particle-in-cell simulations compromised by Monte Carlo collisions. Physics of Plasmas, 13 (3). ISSN 1070-664X

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he particle-in-cell method with Monte Carlo collisions is frequently used when a detailed kinetic simulation of a weakly collisional plasma is required. In such cases, one usually desires, inter alia, an accurate calculation of the particle distribution functions in velocity space. However, velocity space diffusion affects most, perhaps all, kinetic simulations to some degree, leading to numerical thermalization (i.e., relaxation of the velocity distribution toward a Maxwellian), and consequently distortion of the true velocity distribution functions, among other undesirable effects. The rate of such thermalization can be considered a figure of merit for kinetic simulations. This article shows that, contrary to previous assumption, the addition of Monte Carlo collisions to a one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation seriously degrades certain properties of the simulation. In particular, the thermalization time can be reduced by as much as three orders of magnitude. This effect makes obtaining strictly converged simulation results difficult in many cases of practical interest.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:plasma kinetic theory; plasma simulation; Monte Carlo methods; plasma collision processes; plasma transport processes;
Subjects:Physical Sciences > Physics
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST)
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science and Health > School of Physical Sciences
Publisher:American Institute of Physics
Official URL:
Copyright Information:©2006 American Institute of Physics
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:214
Deposited On:04 Mar 2008 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 02 Feb 2009 15:07

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