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Robust and conservative dynamical low-rank methods for the Vlasov equation via a novel macro-micro decomposition

Jack CoughlinJingwei HuUri Shumlak
Nov 2023
Dynamical low-rank (DLR) approximation has gained interest in recent years as a viable solution to the curse of dimensionality in the numerical solution of kinetic equations including the Boltzmann and Vlasov equations. These methods include the projector-splitting and Basis-update & Galerkin DLR integrators, and have shown promise at greatly improving the computational efficiency of kinetic solutions. However, this often comes at the cost of conservation of charge, current and energy. In this work we show how a novel macro-micro decomposition may be used to separate the distribution function into two components, one of which carries the conserved quantities, and the other of which is orthogonal to them. We apply DLR approximation to the latter, and thereby achieve a clean and extensible approach to a conservative DLR scheme which retains the computational advantages of the base scheme. Moreover, our decomposition is compatible with the projector-splitting integrator, and can therefore access second-order accuracy in time via a Strang splitting scheme. We describe a first-order integrator which can exactly conserve charge and either current or energy, as well as a second-order accurate integrator which exactly conserves charge and energy. To highlight the flexibility of the proposed macro-micro decomposition, we implement a pair of velocity space discretizations, and verify the claimed accuracy and conservation properties on a suite of plasma benchmark problems.
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