On hydromagnetic wave interactions in collisionless, high-β plasmas

S. Majeski, M. W. Kunz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe the interaction of parallel-propagating Alfvén waves with ion-acoustic waves and other Alfvén waves, in magnetized, high- collisionless plasmas. This is accomplished through a combination of analytical theory and numerical fluid simulations of the Chew-Goldberger-Low (CGL) magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations closed by Landau-fluid heat fluxes. An asymptotic ordering is employed to simplify the CGL-MHD equations and derive solutions for the deformation of an Alfvén wave that results from its interaction with the pressure anisotropy generated either by an ion-acoustic wave or another, larger-amplitude Alfvén wave. The difference in time scales of acoustic and Alfvénic fluctuations at high- means that interactions that are local in wavenumber space yield little modification to either mode within the time it takes the acoustic wave to Landau damp away. Instead, order-unity changes in the amplitude of Alfvénic fluctuations can result after interacting with frequency-matched acoustic waves. Additionally, we show that the propagation speed of an Alfvén-wave packet in an otherwise homogeneous background is a function of its self-generated pressure anisotropy. This allows for the eventual interaction of separate co-propagating Alfvén-wave packets of differing amplitudes. The results of the CGL-MHD simulations agree well with these predictions, suggesting that theoretical models relying on the interaction of these modes should be reconsidered in certain astrophysical environments. Applications of these results to weak Alfvénic turbulence and to the interaction between the compressive and Alfvénic cascades in strong, collisionless turbulence are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number535900101
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • astrophysical plasmas
  • plasma nonlinear phenomena
  • plasma waves


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