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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 bedoi:10.1103/physrevlett.110.215006 pmid:23745891 fatcat:nari6sgpxrhg5gqkdfbwprbda4