Generalized entropy production in collisionless plasma flows and turbulence
Abstract
Collisionless plasmas exhibit nonthermal and anisotropic particle distributions after being energized; as a consequence, they enter a lowentropy state relative to the thermal state. The Vlasov equations predict that in a collisionless plasma with closed boundaries, entropy is formally conserved, along with an infinite set of other Casimir invariants; this provides a seemingly strong constraint that may explain how plasmas maintain low entropy. Nevertheless, entropy is commonly believed to be produced due to phase mixing or nonlinear entropy cascades. The question of whether such anomalous entropy production occurs, and of how to characterize it quantitatively, is a fundamental problem in plasma physics. We construct a new theoretical framework for characterizing entropy production (in a generalized sense) based on a set of ideally conserved "Casimir momenta" derived from the Casimir invariants. The growth of the Casimir momenta relative to the average particle momentum indicates entropy production. We apply this framework to quantify entropy production in particleincell simulations of laminar flows and turbulent flows driven in relativistic plasma, where efficient nonthermal particle acceleration is enabled. We demonstrate that a large amount of anomalous entropy is produced by turbulence despite nonthermal features. The Casimir momenta grow to cover a range of energies in the nonthermal tail of the distribution, and we correlate their growth with spatial structures. These results have implications for reduced modeling of nonthermal particle acceleration and for diagnosing irreversible dissipation in collisionless plasmas such as the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere.
 Publication:

arXiv eprints
 Pub Date:
 October 2021
 arXiv:
 arXiv:2110.07025
 Bibcode:
 2021arXiv211007025Z
 Keywords:

 Astrophysics  High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
 Physics  Plasma Physics;
 Physics  Space Physics
 EPrint:
 17 pages, 7 figures, submitted for publication