[Table of Contents]

Plasma and Fusion Research

Volume 6, 2401101 (2011)

Regular Articles

Full Particle-in-Cell Simulation on a Small-Scale Magnetosphere Using Uniform and Nested Grid Systems
Toseo MORITAKA1,2), Masanori NUNAMI2,3), Hideyuki USUI1,2) and Tatsuki MATSUI1,2)
Kobe University, Nada, Kobe 657-8501, Japan
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), CREST, Kawaguchi 332-0012, Japan
National Institute for Fusion Science, Toki 509-5292, Japan
(Received 24 December 2010 / Accepted 14 February 2011 / Published 11 August 2011)


Solar wind interaction with an artificial magnetosphere is investigated by means of a full particle-in-cell simulation. The resultant momentum transfer of solar wind plasmas may provide the propulsive force for a magnetic sail, which is a potential next-generation interplanetary flight system. These simulations are performed using two different simulation codes. One is a traditional code employing a uniform grid system, and the other is a newly developed code with an adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) technique. Even in a small magnetosphere having a scale smaller than the ion inertia length, ions are scattered at the front of the magnetosphere. In this region, an electron-scale current structure is observed, and the electromagnetic interaction with the coil current density, which creates the magnetosphere, causes a propulsive force. The current density structure observed in the AMR simulation is in good agreement with that resulting from the traditional code. The AMR code is expected to be a powerful tool to demonstrate this solar wind interaction under realistic conditions at a reasonable numerical cost.


particle-in-cell simulation, adaptive mesh refinement, interplanetary flight system, magnetic sail

DOI: 10.1585/pfr.6.2401101


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This paper may be cited as follows:

Toseo MORITAKA, Masanori NUNAMI, Hideyuki USUI and Tatsuki MATSUI, Plasma Fusion Res. 6, 2401101 (2011).