skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Observation of an Alfvén Wave Parametric Instability in a Laboratory Plasma

Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 116; Journal Issue: 19; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2016-05-11 18:10:31; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
American Physical Society
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Dorfman, S., and Carter, T. A. Observation of an Alfvén Wave Parametric Instability in a Laboratory Plasma. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.195002.
Dorfman, S., & Carter, T. A. Observation of an Alfvén Wave Parametric Instability in a Laboratory Plasma. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.195002.
Dorfman, S., and Carter, T. A. Wed . "Observation of an Alfvén Wave Parametric Instability in a Laboratory Plasma". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.195002.
title = {Observation of an Alfvén Wave Parametric Instability in a Laboratory Plasma},
author = {Dorfman, S. and Carter, T. A.},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.195002},
journal = {Physical Review Letters},
number = 19,
volume = 116,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed May 11 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Wed May 11 00:00:00 EDT 2016}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.195002

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:
  • Parametric decays of a left-handed circularly polarized Alfvén wave propagating along a constant background magnetic field in a relativistic thermal electron-positron plasma are studied by means of a one dimensional relativistic particle-in-cell simulation. Relativistic effects are included in the Lorentz equation for the momentum of the particles and in their thermal motion, by considering a Maxwell-Jüttner velocity distribution function for the initial condition. In the linear stage of the simulation, we find many instabilities that match the predictions of relativistic fluid theory. In general, the growth rates of the instabilities increase as the pump wave amplitude is increased, and decreasemore » with a raise in the plasma temperatures. We have confirmed that for very high temperatures the Alfvén branch is suppressed, consistent with analytical calculations.« less
  • The parametric instabilities of an Alfvén wave in a proton-electron plasma system are found to have great influence on proton dynamics, where part of the protons can be accelerated through the Landau resonance with the excited ion acoustic waves, and a beam component along the background magnetic field is formed. In this paper, with a one-dimensional hybrid simulation model, we investigate the evolution of the parametric instabilities of a monochromatic left-hand polarized Alfvén wave in a proton-electron-alpha plasma with a low beta. When the drift velocity between the protons and alpha particles is sufficiently large, the wave numbers of themore » backward daughter Alfvén waves can be cascaded toward higher values due to the modulational instability during the nonlinear evolution of the parametric instabilities, and the alpha particles are resonantly heated in both the parallel and perpendicular direction by the backward waves. On the other hand, when the drift velocity of alpha particles is small, the alpha particles are heated in the linear growth stage of the parametric instabilities due to the Landau resonance with the excited ion acoustic waves. Therefore, the heating occurs only in the parallel direction, and there is no obvious heating in the perpendicular direction. The relevance of our results to the preferential heating of heavy ions observed in the solar wind within 0.3 AU is also discussed in this paper.« less
  • Turbulence is a phenomenon found throughout space and astrophysical plasmas. It plays an important role in solar coronal heating, acceleration of the solar wind, and heating of the interstellar medium. Turbulence in these regimes is dominated by Alfvén waves. Most turbulence theories have been established using ideal plasma models, such as incompressible MHD. However, there has been no experimental evidence to support the use of such models for weakly to moderately collisional plasmas which are relevant to various space and astrophysical plasma environments. We present the first experiment to measure the nonlinear interaction between two counterpropagating Alfvén waves, which ismore » the building block for astrophysical turbulence theories. We present here four distinct tests that demonstrate conclusively that we have indeed measured the daughter Alfvén wave generated nonlinearly by a collision between counterpropagating Alfvén waves.« less