On the nature of kinetic electrostatic electron nonlinear (KEEN) waves

I. Y. Dodin, N. J. Fisch

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An analytical theory is proposed for the kinetic electrostatic electron nonlinear (KEEN) waves originally found in simulations by Afeyan et al. [arXiv:1210.8105]. We suggest that KEEN waves represent saturated states of the negative mass instability (NMI) reported recently by Dodin et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 215006 (2013)]. Due to the NMI, trapped electrons form macroparticles that produce field oscillations at harmonics of the bounce frequency. At large enough amplitudes, these harmonics can phase-lock to the main wave and form stable nonlinear dissipationless structures that are nonstationary but otherwise similar to Bernstein-Greene-Kruskal modes. The theory explains why the formation of KEEN modes is sensitive to the excitation scenario and yields estimates that agree with the numerical results of Afeyan et al. A new type of KEEN wave may be possible at even larger amplitudes of the driving field than those used in simulations so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034501
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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