Articles | Volume 34, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 34, 673–689, 2016
Ann. Geophys., 34, 673–689, 2016

Regular paper 16 Aug 2016

Regular paper | 16 Aug 2016

Inverse scattering problem in turbulent magnetic fluctuations

Rudolf A. Treumann1,a, Wolfgang Baumjohann2, and Yasuhito Narita2 Rudolf A. Treumann et al.
  • 1Department of Geophysics and Environmental Sciences, Munich University, Munich, Germany
  • 2Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • anow at: International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. We apply a particular form of the inverse scattering theory to turbulent magnetic fluctuations in a plasma. In the present note we develop the theory, formulate the magnetic fluctuation problem in terms of its electrodynamic turbulent response function, and reduce it to the solution of a special form of the famous Gelfand–Levitan–Marchenko equation of quantum mechanical scattering theory. The last of these applies to transmission and reflection in an active medium. The theory of turbulent magnetic fluctuations does not refer to such quantities. It requires a somewhat different formulation. We reduce the theory to the measurement of the low-frequency electromagnetic fluctuation spectrum, which is not the turbulent spectral energy density. The inverse theory in this form enables obtaining information about the turbulent response function of the medium. The dynamic causes of the electromagnetic fluctuations are implicit to it. Thus, it is of vital interest in low-frequency magnetic turbulence. The theory is developed until presentation of the equations in applicable form to observations of turbulent electromagnetic fluctuations as input from measurements. Solution of the final integral equation should be done by standard numerical methods based on iteration. We point to the possibility of treating power law fluctuation spectra as an example. Formulation of the problem to include observations of spectral power densities in turbulence is not attempted. This leads to severe mathematical problems and requires a reformulation of inverse scattering theory. One particular aspect of the present inverse theory of turbulent fluctuations is that its structure naturally leads to spatial information which is obtained from the temporal information that is inherent to the observation of time series. The Taylor assumption is not needed here. This is a consequence of Maxwell's equations, which couple space and time evolution. The inversion procedure takes advantage of a particular mapping from time to space domains. Though the theory is developed for homogeneous stationary non-flowing media, its extension to include flows, anisotropy, non-stationarity, and the presence of spectral lines, i.e. plasma eigenmodes like those present in the foreshock or the magnetosheath, is obvious.

Short summary
In support of low-frequency electromagnetic turbulence we formulate the inverse scattering theory of electromagnetic fluctuations in plasma. Its solution provides the turbulent response function which contains all information of the dynamical causes of the electromagnetic fluctuations. This is of basic interest in any electromagnetic turbulence. It requires measurement of magnetic and electric fluctuations but makes no direct use of the turbulent power spectral density.