Speaker: Dr. M. J. Pueschel, Institute for Fusion Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Abstract: Recent experiments conducted at the Large Plasma Device reveal strong compressional, or parallel, magnetic fluctuations in the region of large density and temperature gradients. Using state-of-the-art gyrokinetic turbulence modeling, we show that the driver of these fluctuations is a new turbulence regime, where plasma instability occurs due to a coupling of the ExB and grad B drifts. Implications of this process include the ability of this instability to allow current sheet relaxation, thus enhancing reconnection rates in solar scenarios, boosting coronal heating rates. Furthermore, the instability is even found to occur in matter-antimatter pair plasmas in homogeneous guide fields, a class of plasmas previously thought to be completely stable to pressure gradients. We discuss consequences for magnetic-confinement, laser-induced, and astrophysical pair plasmas.