Non-modal stability analysis and transient growth in a magnetized Vlasov plasma
Mechanical Engineering, Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, 4700 KAUST - Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Received: 26 August 2014
Accepted: 24 November 2014
Collisionless plasmas, such as those encountered in tokamaks, exhibit a rich variety of instabilities. The physical origin, triggering mechanisms and fundamental understanding of many plasma instabilities, however, are still open problems. We investigate the stability properties of a 3-dimensional collisionless Vlasov plasma in a stationary homogeneous magnetic field. We narrow the scope of our investigation to the case of Maxwellian plasma and examine its evolution with an electrostatic approximation. For the first time using a fully kinetic approach we show the emergence of the local instability, a transient growth, followed by classical Landau damping in a stable magnetized plasma. We show that the linearized Vlasov operator is non-normal leading to the algebraic growth of the perturbations using non-modal stability theory. The typical time scales of the obtained instabilities are of the order of several plasma periods. The first-order distribution function and the corresponding electric field are calculated and the dependence on the magnetic field and perturbation parameters is studied. Our results offer a new scenario of the emergence and development of plasma instabilities on the kinetic scale.
PACS: 52.25.Xz – Magnetized plasmas / 52.35.-g – Waves, oscillations, and instabilities in plasmas and intense beams / 52.25.Dg – Plasma kinetic equations
© EPLA, 2014