Nonlinear amplification and decay of phase-mixed waves in compressing plasma

P. F. Schmit, I. Y. Dodin, J. Rocks, N. J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Through particle-in-cell simulations, we show that plasma waves carrying trapped electrons can be amplified manyfold via compressing plasma perpendicularly to the wave vector. These simulations are the first ab initio demonstration of the conservation of nonlinear action for such waves, which contains a term independent of the field amplitude. In agreement with the theory, the maximum of amplification gain is determined by the total initial energy of the trapped-particle average motion but otherwise is insensitive to the particle distribution. Further compression destroys the wave; electrons are then untrapped at suprathermal energies and form a residual beam. As compression continues, the bump-on-tail instability is triggered each time one of the discrete modes comes in resonance with this beam. Hence, periodic bursts of the electrostatic energy are produced until a wide quasilinear plateau is formed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055001
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 28 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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