Detection of Small-Scale Structures in the Dissipation Regime of Solar-Wind Turbulence





Citation of Original Publication

Perri, S., M. L. Goldstein, J. C. Dorelli, and F. Sahraoui. “Detection of Small-Scale Structures in the Dissipation Regime of Solar-Wind Turbulence.” Physical Review Letters 109, no. 19 (November 8, 2012): 191101.


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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Recent observations of the solar wind have pointed out the existence of a cascade of magnetic energy from the scale of the proton Larmor radius ρₚ down to the electron Larmor radius ρₑ scale. In this Letter we study the spatial properties of magnetic field fluctuations in the solar wind and find that at small scales the magnetic field does not resemble a sea of homogeneous fluctuations, but rather a two-dimensional plane containing thin current sheets and discontinuities with spatial sizes ranging from l ≳ ρₚ down to ρₑ and below. These isolated structures may be manifestations of intermittency that localize sites of turbulent dissipation. Studying the relationship between turbulent dissipation, reconnection, and intermittency is crucial for understanding the dynamics of laboratory and astrophysical plasmas.