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Title: Nonlinear saturation of the Weibel instability

Abstract

The growth and saturation of magnetic fields due to the Weibel instability (WI) have important implications for laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, and this has drawn significant interest recently. Since the WI can generate a large magnetic field from no initial field, the maximum magnitudes achieved can have significant consequences for a number of applications. Hence, an understanding of the detailed dynamics driving the nonlinear saturation of the WI is important. This work considers the nonlinear saturation of the WI when counter-streaming populations of initially unmagnetized electrons are perturbed by a magnetic field oriented perpendicular to the direction of streaming. Previous works have found magnetic trapping to be important and connected electron skin depth spatial scales to the nonlinear saturation of the WI. The results presented in this work are consistent with these findings for a high-temperature case. However, using a high-order continuum kinetic simulation tool, this work demonstrates that when the electron populations are colder, a significant electrostatic potential develops that works with the magnetic field to create potential wells. The electrostatic field develops due to transverse flows induced by the WI and in some cases is strengthened by a secondary instability. This field plays a key role in saturationmore » of the WI for colder populations. In conclusion, the role of the electrostatic potential in Weibel instability saturation has not been studied in detail previously.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
  2. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1420769
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1420637
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-09CH11466; FA9550-15-1-0193
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Plasma physics; Continuum kinetic simulation; Weibel instability; Nonlinear saturation

Citation Formats

Cagas, P., Hakim, A., Scales, W., and Srinivasan, B. Nonlinear saturation of the Weibel instability. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4994682.
Cagas, P., Hakim, A., Scales, W., & Srinivasan, B. Nonlinear saturation of the Weibel instability. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4994682.
Cagas, P., Hakim, A., Scales, W., and Srinivasan, B. Tue . "Nonlinear saturation of the Weibel instability". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4994682. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1420769.
@article{osti_1420769,
title = {Nonlinear saturation of the Weibel instability},
author = {Cagas, P. and Hakim, A. and Scales, W. and Srinivasan, B.},
abstractNote = {The growth and saturation of magnetic fields due to the Weibel instability (WI) have important implications for laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, and this has drawn significant interest recently. Since the WI can generate a large magnetic field from no initial field, the maximum magnitudes achieved can have significant consequences for a number of applications. Hence, an understanding of the detailed dynamics driving the nonlinear saturation of the WI is important. This work considers the nonlinear saturation of the WI when counter-streaming populations of initially unmagnetized electrons are perturbed by a magnetic field oriented perpendicular to the direction of streaming. Previous works have found magnetic trapping to be important and connected electron skin depth spatial scales to the nonlinear saturation of the WI. The results presented in this work are consistent with these findings for a high-temperature case. However, using a high-order continuum kinetic simulation tool, this work demonstrates that when the electron populations are colder, a significant electrostatic potential develops that works with the magnetic field to create potential wells. The electrostatic field develops due to transverse flows induced by the WI and in some cases is strengthened by a secondary instability. This field plays a key role in saturation of the WI for colder populations. In conclusion, the role of the electrostatic potential in Weibel instability saturation has not been studied in detail previously.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4994682},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 11,
volume = 24,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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