Anatomy of plasma turbulence

Takuma Yamada, Sanae I. Itoh, Takashi Maruta, Naohiro Kasuya, Yoshihiko Nagashima, Shunjiro Shinohara, Kenichiro Terasaka, Masatoshi Yagi, Shigeru Inagaki, Yoshinobu Kawai, Akihide Fujisawa, Kimitaka Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Turbulence is a state of fluids and plasma where nonlinear interactions including cascades to finer scales take place to generate chaotic structure and dynamics. However, turbulence could generate global structures, such as dynamo magnetic field, zonal flows, transport barriers, enhanced transport and quenching transport. Therefore, in turbulence, multiscale phenomena coevolve in space and time, and the character of plasma turbulence has been investigated in the laboratory as a modern and historical scientific mystery. Here, we report anatomical features of the plasma turbulence in the wavenumber-frequency domain by using nonlinear spectral analysis including the bi-spectrum. First, the formation of the plasma turbulence can be regarded as a result of nonlinear interaction of a small number of irreducible parent modes that satisfy the linear dispersion relation. Second, the highlighted finding here, is the first identification of a streamer (state of bunching of drift waves) that should degrade the quality of plasmas for magnetic confinement fusion. The streamer is a poloidally localized, radially elongated global structure that lives longer than the characteristic turbulence correlation time, and our results reveal that the streamer is produced as the result of the nonlinear condensation, or nonlinear phase locking of the major triplet modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-725
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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