Comment on 'Undamped electrostatic plasma waves' [Phys. Plasmas 19, 092103 (2012)]

Schamel, Hans
March 2013
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2013, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p034701
Academic Journal
The relevance of linear 'corner modes' for the description of coherent electrostatic structures, as proposed by Valentini et al. [Phys. Plasmas 19, 092103 (2012)], is questioned. Coherency in their on-dispersion simulation is instead found to be caused by particle trapping in agreement with Schamel's nonlinear wave model [Phys. Plasmas 19, 020501 (2012)]. The revealed small amplitude structures are hence of cnoidal electron hole type exhibiting vortices in phase space. They are ruled by trapping nonlinearity rather than by linearity or quasi-linear effects, as commonly assumed. Arguments are presented, which give preference to these cnoidal hole modes over Bernstein-Greene-Kruskal modes. To fully account for a realistic theoretical scenario, however, at least four ingredients are mandatory. Several corrections of the conventional body of thought about the proper kinetic wave description are proposed. They may prove useful for the general acceptance of this 'new' nonlinear wave concept concerning structure formation, updating several prevailing concepts such as the general validity of a linear wave Ansatz for small amplitudes, as assumed in their paper. It is conjectured that this nonlinear trapping model can be generalized to the vortex structures of similar type found in the more general setting of driven turbulence of magnetized plasmas. They appear as eddies in both, the phase and the position spaces, embedded intermittently on the Debye length scale.


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