Negative-Mass Instability in Nonlinear Plasma Waves

I. Y. Dodin, P. F. Schmit, J. Rocks, N. J. Fisch
2013 Physical Review Letters  
The negative-mass instability (NMI), previously found in ion traps, appears as a distinct regime of the sideband instability in nonlinear plasma waves with trapped particles. As the bounce frequency of these particles decreases with the bounce action, bunching can occur if the action distribution is inverted in trapping islands. In contrast to existing theories that also infer instabilities from the anharmonicity of bounce oscillations, spatial periodicity of the islands turns out to be
more » ... s out to be unimportant, and the particle distribution can be unstable even if it is flat at the resonance. An analytical model is proposed which describes both single traps and periodic nonlinear waves and concisely generalizes the conventional description of the sideband instability in plasma waves. The theoretical results are supported by particle-in-cell simulations carried out for a regime accentuating the NMI effect.
doi:10.1103/physrevlett.110.215006 pmid:23745891 fatcat:nari6sgpxrhg5gqkdfbwprbda4