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Beam-plasma instability and density holes: Langmuir wave-packet formation and particle acceleration

Abstract : The role of density perturbations of the background plasma in the development of Langmuir waves generated by beam-plasma instabilities is a very debated issue in space physics. The presence of clumpy electrostatic wave-packets (in particular Langmuir waves), from in situ observations, is indeed puzzling. Several processes have been proposed to explain the formation of waveforms, such as Stochastic Growth Theory and trapping in eigenmodes. Here we explore another mechanism considering the seeding of the beam-plasma instability by density holes. We have performed several 1D-1V Vlasov simulations in the electrostatic limit. We show that in the presence of a density hole, a large amplitude solitary wave-packet of Langmuir waves is formed and that it evolves towards clumpier waveforms. Moreover, the large-amplitude wave-packets generated near the hole can reach saturation and accelerate the electrons of the beam: their velocity distribution is strongly distorted, leading to a multi-peaked structure that generates new unstable modes having phase velocities both larger and smaller than the average speed of the beam. The relationship between the wave amplitude and the characteristics of the density hole is also described, showing how the electron beam may select specific holes to generate enhanced localised Langmuir wave-packets.
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Contributor : Nathalie Rouchon <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 7, 2020 - 10:39:24 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:37:54 AM



A. Sgattoni, François Amiranoff, C. Briand, Pierre Henri, M. Grech, et al.. Beam-plasma instability and density holes: Langmuir wave-packet formation and particle acceleration. Physics of Plasmas, American Institute of Physics, 2017, 24 (7), ⟨10.1063/1.4989724⟩. ⟨insu-01685241⟩



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