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Impact of electron temperature anisotropy on the collisionless tearing mode instability in the presence of a strong guide field

Abstract : We derive and analyze a dispersion relation for the growth rate of collisionless tearing modes, driven by electron inertia and accounting for equilibrium electron temperature anisotropy in a strong guide field regime. For this purpose, a new gyrofluid model is derived and subsequently simplified to make the derivation of the dispersion relation treatable analytically. The main simplifying assumptions consist in assuming cold ions, neglecting electron finite Larmor radius effects, decoupling ion gyrocenter fluctuations and considering $\beta_{\perp_e} \ll 1$, with $\beta_{\perp_e}$ indicating the ratio between the perpendicular electron thermal pressure and the magnetic pressure exerted by the guide field. This simplified version of the gyrofluid model is shown to possess a noncanonical Hamiltonian structure. The dispersion relation is obtained by applying the theory of asymptotic matching and does not predict an enhancement of the growth rate as the ratio $\Theta_e$, between perpendicular and parallel equilibrium electron temperatures, increases. This indicates a significant difference with respect to the case of absent or moderate guide field. For an equilibrium magnetic shear length of the order of the perpendicular sonic Larmor radius and at a fixed $\beta_{\perp e}$, we obtain that the tearing mode in the strong guide field regime gets actually weakly damped, as $\Theta_e$ increases. In the isotropic limit $\Theta_e=1$, the dispersion relation reduces to a previously known formula. The analytical predictions are tested against numerical simulations showing a very good quantitative agreement. We also provide a detailed discussion of the range of validity of the derived dispersion relation and of the compatibility among the different adopted assumptions.
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Contributor : Emanuele Tassi <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 7:05:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 3:31:37 AM

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C Granier, Emanuele Tassi, D Borgogno, D Grasso. Impact of electron temperature anisotropy on the collisionless tearing mode instability in the presence of a strong guide field. Physics of Plasmas, American Institute of Physics, 2021, 28, pp.022112. ⟨10.1063/5.0037227⟩. ⟨hal-03146163⟩

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