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Physics-based adaptivity of a spectral method for the Vlasov-Poisson equations based on the asymmetrically-weighted Hermite expansion in velocity space

by   Cecilia Pagliantini, et al.

We propose a spectral method for the 1D-1V Vlasov-Poisson system where the discretization in velocity space is based on asymmetrically-weighted Hermite functions, dynamically adapted via a scaling α and shifting u of the velocity variable. Specifically, at each time instant an adaptivity criterion selects new values of α and u based on the numerical solution of the discrete Vlasov-Poisson system obtained at that time step. Once the new values of the Hermite parameters α and u are fixed, the Hermite expansion is updated and the discrete system is further evolved for the next time step. The procedure is applied iteratively over the desired temporal interval. The key aspects of the adaptive algorithm are: the map between approximation spaces associated with different values of the Hermite parameters that preserves total mass, momentum and energy; and the adaptivity criterion to update α and u based on physics considerations relating the Hermite parameters to the average velocity and temperature of each plasma species. For the discretization of the spatial coordinate, we rely on Fourier functions and use the implicit midpoint rule for time stepping. The resulting numerical method possesses intrinsically the property of fluid-kinetic coupling, where the low-order terms of the expansion are akin to the fluid moments of a macroscopic description of the plasma, while kinetic physics is retained by adding more spectral terms. Moreover, the scheme features conservation of total mass, momentum and energy associated in the discrete, for periodic boundary conditions. A set of numerical experiments confirms that the adaptive method outperforms the non-adaptive one in terms of accuracy and stability of the numerical solution.


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