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Supersonic plasma turbulence in the laboratory

White, T. G. and Squire, J. (2019) Supersonic plasma turbulence in the laboratory. Nature Communications, 10 . Art. No. 1758. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC6465398.

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The properties of supersonic, compressible plasma turbulence determine the behavior of many terrestrial and astrophysical systems. In the interstellar medium and molecular clouds, compressible turbulence plays a vital role in star formation and the evolution of our galaxy. Observations of the density and velocity power spectra in the Orion B and Perseus molecular clouds show large deviations from those predicted for incompressible turbulence. Hydrodynamic simulations attribute this to the high Mach number in the interstellar medium (ISM), although the exact details of this dependence are not well understood. Here we investigate experimentally the statistical behavior of boundary-free supersonic turbulence created by the collision of two laser-driven high-velocity turbulent plasma jets. The Mach number dependence of the slopes of the density and velocity power spectra agree with astrophysical observations, and supports the notion that the turbulence transitions from being Kolmogorov-like at low Mach number to being more Burgers-like at higher Mach numbers.

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Squire, J.0000-0001-8479-962X
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2019. Open Access - This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 04 April 2018. Accepted 08 March 2019. Published 15 April 2019. The authors would like to thank Prof. Steve Cowley for a useful discussion. The research leading to these results has received funding from AWE plc, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant numbers EP/M022331/1, EP/N014472/1, EP/P010059/1, and EP/N002644/1), the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, the U.S. Department of Energy under Field Work Proposal No. 57789 to Argonne National Laboratory, and grants no. DE-NA0002724, DE-NA0003605 and DE-SC0016566 to the University of Chicago. We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation under grant PHY-1619573. Awards of computer time were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) program. This research used resources of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC02-06CH11357. This material is partially based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Fusion Energy Science under Award Number DE-SC0019268. We also acknowledge funding from grants 2016R1A5A1013277 and 2017R1A2A1A05071429 of the NRF of Korea. Author Contributions: This project was conceived by A.A.S. and G.G. The experimental team was led by T.G.W. and the work undertaken by M.T.O., P.M., M.K., L.D., R.C., J.M., M.K-K., M.N., T.M., R.H., Y.K., Y.S. and M.P.S. Theoretical discussions and data analysis were primarily carried out by T.G.W., M.T.O., A.F.A.B., A.A.S., D.R., B.R., J.S. and G.G. S.S., P.G., P.T., R.H.H.S., A.R.B., R.B., J.F., G.G., D.Q.L., F.M. and N.W. have provided contributions to either data analysis, simulations, or theoretical support. All authors contributed to the manuscript. Data Availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The authors declare no competing interests. Journal peer review information: Nature communications would like to thank Troy Carter, Gregory Howes, and William Matthaeus for their contribution the peer review of this work
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M022331/1
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/N014472/1
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/P010059/1
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/N002644/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Argonne National Laboratory57789
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-NA0002724
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-NA0003605
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0016566
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-06CH11357
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0019268
National Research Foundation of Korea2016R1A5A1013277
National Research Foundation of Korea2017R1A2A1A05071429
PubMed Central ID:PMC6465398
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190423-101937376
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:White TG, Oliver MT, Mabey P, Kühn-Kauffeldt M, Bott AFA, Döhl LNK, Bell AR, Bingham R, Clarke R, Foster J, Giacinti G, Graham P, Heathcote R, Koenig M, Kuramitsu Y, Lamb DQ, Meinecke J, Michel T, Miniati F, Notley M, Reville B, Ryu D, Sarkar S, Sakawa Y, Selwood MP, Squire J, Scott RHH, Tzeferacos P, Woolsey N, Schekochihin AA, Gregori G. Supersonic plasma turbulence in the laboratory. Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 15;10(1):1758. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09498-y.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94890
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Apr 2019 17:47
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 21:08

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