When the background density in a bounded plasma is modulated in time, discrete modes become coupled. Interestingly, for appropriately chosen modulations, the average plasmon energy might be made to grow in a ladderlike manner, achieving upconversion or downconversion of the plasmon energy. This reversible process is identified as a classical analog of the effect known as quantum ladder climbing, so that the efficiency and the rate of this process can be written immediately by analogy to a quantum particle in a box. In the limit of a densely spaced spectrum, ladder climbing transforms into continuous autoresonance; plasmons may then be manipulated by chirped background modulations much like electrons are autoresonantly manipulated by chirped fields. By formulating the wave dynamics within a universal Lagrangian framework, similar ladder climbing and autoresonance effects are predicted to be achievable with general linear waves in both plasma and other media.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)