Oscillation spectrum of an electron gas with a small density fraction of ions

Research paper by Yu. N. Yeliseyev

Indexed on: 22 Jul '10Published on: 22 Jul '10Published in: Plasma Physics Reports


The problem is solved of the stability of a nonneutral plasma that completely fills a waveguide and consists of magnetized cold electrons and a small density fraction of ions produced by ionization of the atoms of the background gas. The ions are described by an anisotropic distribution function that takes into account the characteristic features of their production in crossed electric and magnetic fields. By solving a set of Vlasov-Poisson equations analytically, a dispersion equation is obtained that is valid over the entire range of allowable electric and magnetic field strengths. The solutions to the dispersion equation for the m = +1 main azimuthal mode are found numerically. The plasma oscillation spectrum consists of the families of Trivelpiece-Gould modes at frequencies equal to the frequencies of oblique Langmuir oscillations Doppler shifted by the electron rotation and also of the families of “modified” ion cyclotron (MIC) modes at frequencies close to the harmonics of the MIC frequency (the frequencies of radial ion oscillations in crossed fields). It is shown that, over a wide range of electric and magnetic field strengths, Trivelpiece-Gould modes have low frequencies and interact with MIC modes. Trivelpiece-Gould modes at frequencies close to the harmonics of the MIC frequency with nonnegative numbers are unstable. The lowest radial Trivelpiece-Gould mode at a frequency close to the zeroth harmonic of the MIC frequency has the fastest growth rate. MIC modes are unstable over a wide range of electric and magnetic field strengths and grow at far slower rates. For a low ion density, a simplified dispersion equation is derived perturbatively that accounts for the nonlocal ion contribution, but, at the same time, has the form of a local dispersion equation for a plasma with a transverse current and anisotropic ions. The solutions to the simplified dispersion equation are obtained analytically. The growth rates of the Trivelpiece-Gould modes and the behavior of the MIC modes agree with those obtained by numerical simulation.