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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jun 10;106(23):235003. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Neoclassical transport including collisional nonlinearity.

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General Atomics, San Diego, California 92186-5608, USA.


In the standard δf theory of neoclassical transport, the zeroth-order (Maxwellian) solution is obtained analytically via the solution of a nonlinear equation. The first-order correction δf is subsequently computed as the solution of a linear, inhomogeneous equation that includes the linearized Fokker-Planck collision operator. This equation admits analytic solutions only in extreme asymptotic limits (banana, plateau, Pfirsch-Schlüter), and so must be solved numerically for realistic plasma parameters. Recently, numerical codes have appeared which attempt to compute the total distribution f more accurately than in the standard ordering by retaining some nonlinear terms related to finite-orbit width, while simultaneously reusing some form of the linearized collision operator. In this work we show that higher-order corrections to the distribution function may be unphysical if collisional nonlinearities are ignored.

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