Metriplectic Particle-in-Cell Integrators for the Landau Collision Operator

In this paper, we present a new framework for addressing the nonlinear Landau collision operator in terms of particle-in-cell methods. We employ the underlying metriplectic structure of the collision operator and, using a macro particle discretization for the distribution function, we transform the infinite-dimensional system into a finite-dimensional time-continuous metriplectic system for advancing the macro particle weights. Temporal discretization is accomplished using the concept of discrete gradients. The conservation of density, momentum, and energy, as well as the positive semi-definite production of entropy in both the time-continuous and the fully discrete system is demonstrated algebraically. The new algorithm is fully compatible with the existing particle-in-cell Poisson integrators for the Vlasov-Maxwell system.