Particle-in-cell simulations of plasma dynamics in cometary environment

Published: May 1, 2019 by iPIC3D

We perform and analyze global Particle-in-Cell (PIC) simulations of the interaction between solar wind and an outgassing comet with the goal of studying the plasma kinetic dynamics of a cometary environment. To achieve this, we design and implement a new numerical method in the iPIC3D code to model outgassing from the comet: new plasma particles are ejected from the comet” surface” at each computational cycle. Our simulations show that a bow shock is formed as a result of the interaction between solar wind and outgassed particles. The analysis of distribution functions for the PIC simulations shows that at the bow shock part of the incoming solar wind, ions are reflected while electrons are heated. This work attempts to reveal kinetic effects in the atmosphere of an outgassing comet using a fully kinetic Particle-in-Cell model.


Sishtla, C. P., Olshevsky, V., Chien, S. W., Markidis, S., & Laure, E.


Journal of Physics: Conference Series (Vol. 1225, No. 1, p. 012009). IOP Publishing.

	doi = {10.1088/1742-6596/1225/1/012009},
	url = {},
	year = 2019,
	month = {may},
	publisher = {IOP Publishing},
	volume = {1225},
	pages = {012009},
	author = {Chaitanya Prasad Sishtla and Vyacheslav Olshevsky and Steven W. D. Chien and Stefano Markidis and Erwin Laure},
	title = {Particle-in-Cell Simulations of Plasma Dynamics in Cometary Environment},
	journal = {Journal of Physics: Conference Series},