Relaxation of 2D turbulence to vortex crystals

C. F. Driscoll, D. A. Schecter, D. Z. Jin, D. H.E. Dubin, K. S. Fine, A. C. Cass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A magnetically confined electron column evolves in (r, θ) as an essentially inviscid, incompressible 2D fluid with a single sign of vorticity. Turbulent initial states with 50-100 vortices relax due to vortex merger and filamentation, in general agreement with recent scaling theories. However, this relaxation is sometimes halted when 3-20 vortices "anneal" into a fixed pattern, or "vortex crystal." 2D vortex-in-cell simulations reproduce this effect, demonstrating that the vortex "cooling" is independent of fine-scale viscosity, but strongly dependent on the strength of the weak background vorticity. A new "restricted maximum fluid entropy" theory predicts the crystal patterns and background vorticity distribution, by assuming conservation of the robust flow invariants and preservation of the intense vortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-292
Number of pages9
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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