Three-dimensional electromagnetic strong turbulence. II. Wave packet collapse and structure of wave packets during strong turbulence

Graham, D. B.; Robinson, P. A.; Cairns, Iver H.; Skjaeraasen, O.
July 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Jul2011, Vol. 18 Issue 7, p072302
Academic Journal
Large-scale simulations of wave packet collapse are performed by numerically solving the three-dimensional (3D) electromagnetic Zakharov equations, focusing on individual wave packet collapses and on wave packets that form in continuously driven strong turbulence. The collapse threshold is shown to decrease as the electron thermal speed νe/c increases and as the temperature ratio Ti/Te of ions to electrons decreases. Energy lost during wave packet collapse and dissipation is shown to depend on νe/c. The dynamics of density perturbations after collapse are studied in 3D electromagnetic strong turbulence for a range of Ti/Te. The structures of the Langmuir, transverse, and total electric field components of wave packets during strong turbulence are investigated over a range of νe/c. For νe/c<=0.17, strong turbulence is approximately electrostatic and wave packets have very similar structure to purely electrostatic wave packets. For νe/c>=0.17, transverse modes become trapped in density wells and contribute significantly to the structure of the total electric field. At all νe/c, the Langmuir energy density contours of wave packets are predominantly oblate (pancake shaped). The transverse energy density contours of wave packets are predominantly prolate (sausage shaped), with the major axis being perpendicular to the major axes of the Langmuir component. This results in the wave packet becoming more nearly spherical as νe/c increases, and in turn generates more spherical density wells during collapse. The results obtained are compared with previous 3D electrostatic results and 2D electromagnetic results.


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