Kinetic dispersion of Langmuir waves. I. The Langmuir decay instability

Palastro, J. P.; Williams, E. A.; Hinkel, D. E.; Divol, L.; Strozzi, D. J.
September 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Sep2009, Vol. 16 Issue 9, p092304
Academic Journal
We derive a fully kinetic, three-dimensional dispersion relation for Langmuir waves with a focus on the Langmuir decay instability (LDI). The kinetic dispersion is compared to the standard fluid dispersion found with an equation of state (EOS) closure. The EOS closure fails to capture the intricacies of the nonlinear pressure when high frequency electron plasma waves (EPWs) couple to low frequency ion acoustic waves (IAWs). In particular, we find discrepancies in the kλd scaling of the LDI growth rate, where k is the wavenumber of the incident EPW and λd is the Debye length. As a result, the kinetic dispersion relation for LDI results in instability thresholds that can be in excess of twice those predicted by the fluid theory. Both the fluid and kinetic dispersion relations predict a nonlinear frequency shift due to the beating of the pump and scattered EPWs, but again the kλd scaling of these frequency shifts differ. In addition, the kinetic dispersion predicts a nonlinear reduction in the IAW damping from the three-wave interaction.


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