Suppression of the filamentation instability by a flow-aligned magnetic field: testing the analytic threshold with PIC simulations
2008 (English)In: Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, ISSN 0741-3335, E-ISSN 1361-6587, Vol. 50, no 2, 025002-1-25002-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The impact of a flow-aligned and spatially homogeneous magnetic field on the filamentation instability (FI) is examined in a system of two equal counterstreaming non-relativistic cool electron beams. Particle-in-cell simulations that represent the plane perpendicular to the flow velocity vector confirm the reduction of the linear growth rate by the initial magnetic field. The FI is, however, not inhibited by a magnetic field with the critical strength, for which the solution of the linear dispersion relation predicts a full suppression. The saturation of the electromagnetic fields in the plasma involves a balance between the magnetic pressure gradient and the electric field resulting from the charge displacement. The simulations demonstrate that the magnetic energy gain and the field structure upon saturation do not depend on the initial magnetic field strength. This can be explained by the qualitative similarity of the spectrum of unstable wavenumbers, at least for subcritical strengths of the background magnetic field, and by the vanishing of the pressure gradient of a spatially homogeneous magnetic field. Magnetic trapping is apparently not the saturation mechanism for the considered plasma parameters. The spatial power spectrum of the saturated magnetic fields in the simulation plane can be approximated by a power-law function and the magnetic and electric spectra are similar at high wavenumbers. The final electron velocity distributions are comparable for all magnetic field strengths.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 50, no 2, 025002-1-25002-18 p.
National CategoryEngineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-40712DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/50/2/025002Local ID: 53933OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-40712DiVA: diva2:261561