The dispersive Alfvén wave in the time-stationary limit with a focus on collisional and warm-plasma effects

Finnegan, S. M.; Koepke, M. E.; Knudsen, D. J.
May 2008
Physics of Plasmas;May2008, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p052108
Academic Journal
A nonlinear, collisional, two-fluid model of uniform plasma convection across a field-aligned current (FAC) sheet, describing the stationary Alfvén (StA) wave, is presented. In a previous work, Knudsen showed that, for cold, collisionless plasma [D. J. Knudsen, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 10761 (1996)], the stationary inertial Alfvén (StIA) wave can accelerate electrons parallel to a background magnetic field and cause large, time-independent plasma-density variations having spatial periodicity in the direction of the convective flow over a broad range of spatial scales and energies. Knudsen suggested that these fundamental properties of the StIA wave may play a role in the formation of discrete auroral arcs. Here, Knudsen’s model has been generalized for warm, collisional plasma. From this generalization, it is shown that nonzero ion-neutral and electron-ion collisional resistivity significantly alters the perpendicular ac and dc structure of magnetic-field-aligned electron drift, and can either dissipate or enhance the field-aligned electron energy depending on the initial value of field-aligned electron drift velocity. It is also shown that nonzero values of plasma pressure increase the dominant Fourier component of perpendicular wavenumber.


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