Solving gyrokinetic systems with higher-order time dependence
Journal of Plasma Physics
We discuss theoretical and numerical aspects of gyrokinetics as a Lagrangian field theory when the field perturbation is introduced into the symplectic part. A consequence is that the field equations and particle equations of motion in general depend on the time derivatives of the field. The most well-known example is when the parallel vector potential is introduced as a perturbation, where a time derivative of the field arises only in the equations of motion, so an explicit equation for the
... equation for the fields may still be written. We will consider the conceptually more problematic case where the time-dependent fields appear in both the field equations and equations of motion, but where the additional term in the field equations is formally small. The conceptual issues were described by Burby (J. Plasma Phys., vol. 82 (3), 2016, 905820304): these terms lead to apparent additional degrees of freedom to the problem, so that the electric field now requires an initial condition, which is not required in low-frequency (Darwin) Vlasov–Maxwell equations. Also, the small terms in the Euler–Lagrange equations are a singular perturbation, and these two issues are interlinked. For well-behaved problems the apparent additional degrees of freedom are spurious, and the physically relevant solution may be directly identified. Because we needed to assume that the system is well behaved for small perturbations when deriving gyrokinetic theory, we must continue to assume that when solving it, and the physical solutions are thus the regular ones. The spurious nature of the singular degrees of freedom may also be seen by changing coordinate systems so the varying field appears only in the Hamiltonian. We then describe how methods appropriate for singular perturbation theory may be used to solve these asymptotic equations numerically. We then describe a proof-of-principle implementation of these methods for an electrostatic strong-flow gyrokinetic system; two basic test cases are presented to illustrate code functionality.