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The Alpha Effect: The Connection between Cyclonic Events and Current Helicity

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2 Author(s)

In a magnetized plasma, resistive diffusion of large-scale magnetic fields can be suppressed or even overcome by a turbulently generated electromotive force. For a plasma in which the turbulence is homogeneous and isotropic this EMF is characterized by the ensemble average <¿v × ¿b> = ¿B0, where ¿v and ¿b represent the turbulent fields and B0 defines the large-scale field. Determination of the statistical properties of the turbulence that are required to generate a finite alpha effect, as it has become known, is one of the central subjects of dynamo theory. Parker has shown that helical velocity fluctuations possessing a net amount of kinetic helicity are capable of dynamo action. These "cyclonic events" produce electromagnetic fluctuations characterized by their own statistical properties. Within the context of "mean-field electrodynamics" we show that these fluctuations possess a net amount of current helicity, and find that a necessary condition for dynamo action is that the turbulent current helicity and the current helicity in the large-scale field be of opposite sign.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 6 )