Wave-driven torques to drive current and rotation

Ian E. Ochs, Nathaniel J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In the classic Landau damping initial value problem, where a planar electrostatic wave transfers energy and momentum to resonant electrons, a recoil reaction occurs in the nonresonant particles to ensure momentum conservation. To explain how net current can be driven in spite of this conservation, the literature often appeals to mechanisms that transfer this nonresonant recoil momentum to ions, which carry negligible current. However, this explanation does not allow the transport of net charge across magnetic field lines, precluding E × B rotation drive. Here, we show that in steady state, this picture of current drive is incomplete. Using a simple Fresnel model of the plasma, we show that for lower hybrid waves, the electromagnetic energy flux (Poynting vector) and momentum flux (Maxwell stress tensor) associated with the evanescent vacuum wave become the Minkowski energy flux and momentum flux in the plasma and are ultimately transferred to resonant particles. Thus, the torque delivered to the resonant particles is ultimately supplied by the electromagnetic torque from the antenna, allowing the nonresonant recoil response to vanish and rotation to be driven. We present a warm fluid model that explains how this momentum conservation works out locally, via a Reynolds stress that does not appear in the one-dimensional initial value problem. This model is the simplest that can capture both the nonresonant recoil reaction in the initial-value problem, and the absence of a nonresonant recoil in the steady-state boundary value problem, thus forbidding rotation drive in the former while allowing it in the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102506
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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