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Title: Non-linear plasma wake growth of electron holes

Abstract

We report that an object's wake in a plasma with small Debye length that drifts across the magnetic field is subject to electrostatic electron instabilities. Such situations include, for example, the moon in the solar wind and probes in magnetized laboratory plasmas. The instability drive mechanism can equivalently be considered drift down the potential-energy gradient or drift up the density-gradient. The gradients arise because the plasma wake has a region of depressed density and electrostatic potential into which ions are attracted along the field. The non-linear consequences of the instability are analysed in this paper. At physical ratios of electron to ion mass, neither linear nor quasilinear treatment can explain the observation of large-amplitude perturbations that disrupt the ion streams well before they become ion-ion unstable. Here we show, however, that electron holes, once formed, continue to grow, driven by the drift mechanism, and if they remain in the wake may reach a maximum non-linearly stable size, beyond which their uncontrolled growth disrupts the ions. The hole growth calculations provide a quantitative prediction of hole profile and size evolution. Hole growth appears to explain the observations of recent particle-in-cell simulations.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
OSTI Identifier:
1546884
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1228575
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0010491
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 3; 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

Citation Formats

Hutchinson, I. H., Haakonsen, C. B., and Zhou, C. Non-linear plasma wake growth of electron holes. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4915526.
Hutchinson, I. H., Haakonsen, C. B., & Zhou, C. Non-linear plasma wake growth of electron holes. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4915526.
Hutchinson, I. H., Haakonsen, C. B., and Zhou, C. Wed . "Non-linear plasma wake growth of electron holes". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4915526. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1546884.
@article{osti_1546884,
title = {Non-linear plasma wake growth of electron holes},
author = {Hutchinson, I. H. and Haakonsen, C. B. and Zhou, C.},
abstractNote = {We report that an object's wake in a plasma with small Debye length that drifts across the magnetic field is subject to electrostatic electron instabilities. Such situations include, for example, the moon in the solar wind and probes in magnetized laboratory plasmas. The instability drive mechanism can equivalently be considered drift down the potential-energy gradient or drift up the density-gradient. The gradients arise because the plasma wake has a region of depressed density and electrostatic potential into which ions are attracted along the field. The non-linear consequences of the instability are analysed in this paper. At physical ratios of electron to ion mass, neither linear nor quasilinear treatment can explain the observation of large-amplitude perturbations that disrupt the ion streams well before they become ion-ion unstable. Here we show, however, that electron holes, once formed, continue to grow, driven by the drift mechanism, and if they remain in the wake may reach a maximum non-linearly stable size, beyond which their uncontrolled growth disrupts the ions. The hole growth calculations provide a quantitative prediction of hole profile and size evolution. Hole growth appears to explain the observations of recent particle-in-cell simulations.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4915526},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 3,
volume = 22,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {3}
}

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