Implementation of the two-dimensional electrostatic particle-in-cell method

D. F. Rodríguez-Patiño, S. Ramírez, J. S. Salcedo-Gallo, J. H. Hoyos, E. Restrepo-Parra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We provide a guide to implementing the particle-in-cell algorithm, which is useful for simulating diverse phenomena in plasmas. We focus on two-dimensional systems which have vector fields with three Cartesian components but depend only on two spatial coordinates. We describe the algorithm in detail, including particle-to-grid interpolation, the fast Fourier transform, the Boris algorithm, and the use of dimensionless units. As an example, we discuss a simulation of the two-stream instability, which occurs in a plasma system composed of two counter-streaming electrons and an ion background at rest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020


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