## Abstract

The particle-in-cell (PIC) algorithm is the most popular method for the discretisation of the general 6D Vlasov-Maxwell problem and it is widely used also for the simulation of the 5D gyrokinetic equations. The method consists of coupling a particle-based algorithm for the Vlasov equation with a grid-based method for the computation of the self-consistent electromagnetic fields. In this review we derive a Monte Carlo PIC finite-element model starting from a gyrokinetic discrete Lagrangian. The variations of the Lagrangian are used to obtain the time-continuous equations of motion for the particles and the finite-element approximation of the field equations. The Noether theorem for the semi-discretised system implies a certain number of conservation properties for the final set of equations. Moreover, the PIC method can be interpreted as a probabilistic Monte Carlo like method, consisting of calculating integrals of the continuous distribution function using a finite set of discrete markers. The nonlinear interactions along with numerical errors introduce random effects after some time. Therefore, the same tools for error analysis and error reduction used in Monte Carlo numerical methods can be applied to PIC simulations.

Original language | English |
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Article number | 435810501 |

Journal | Journal of Plasma Physics |

Volume | 81 |

Issue number | 5 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 1 Oct 2015 |

Externally published | Yes |