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Langmuir Wave Decay in Inhomogeneous Solar Wind Plasmas: Simulation Results

Abstract : Langmuir turbulence excited by electron flows in solar wind plasmas is studied on the basis of numerical simulations. In particular, nonlinear wave decay processes involving ion-sound (IS) waves are considered in order to understand their dependence on external long-wavelength plasma density fluctuations. In the presence of inhomogeneities, it is shown that the decay processes are localized in space and, due to the differences between the group velocities of Langmuir and IS waves, their duration is limited so that a full nonlinear saturation cannot be achieved. The reflection and the scattering of Langmuir wave packets on the ambient and randomly varying density fluctuations lead to crucial effects impacting the development of the IS wave spectrum. Notably, beatings between forward propagating Langmuir waves and reflected ones result in the parametric generation of waves of noticeable amplitudes and in the amplification of IS waves. These processes, repeated at different space locations, form a series of cascades of wave energy transfer, similar to those studied in the frame of weak turbulence theory. The dynamics of such a cascading mechanism and its influence on the acceleration of the most energetic part of the electron beam are studied. Finally, the role of the decay processes in the shaping of the profiles of the Langmuir wave packets is discussed, and the waveforms calculated are compared with those observed recently on board the spacecraft Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory and WIND
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C. Krafft, A. S. Volokitin, Vladimir Krasnoselskikh. Langmuir Wave Decay in Inhomogeneous Solar Wind Plasmas: Simulation Results. The Astrophysical Journal, American Astronomical Society, 2015, 809 (2), 176, 18 pp. ⟨10.1088/0004-637X/809/2/176⟩. ⟨insu-01351972⟩

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