Charged particle motion in electromagnetic fields varying moderately rapidly in space

Jagannath, Aukosh; Weitzner, Harold
October 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Oct2011, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p104510
Academic Journal
Electromagnetic fields are considered which vary on the space scale of the geometric mean of the Larmor radius and the much larger scale length of variation of the magnetic field lines. It is first shown that the magnetic moment is an adiabatic invariant, even though the usual arguments for its existence fail. The motion of the guiding center is then examined. For perpendicular drifts in magnitude comparable with the particle speed, the subsequent motion is dominated by electrostatic effects. The motion of particles along the field lines occurs on a much slower time scale than the perpendicular drift time scale. When the guiding center motion is approximately periodic in time, a second adiabatic invariant exists, the magnetic flux enclosed by the almost periodic orbit. When the perpendicular drift is small compared with the particle speed, the parallel motion and the perpendicular drift occur on the same, slow timescale.


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