Non-modal stability analysis and transient growth in a magnetized Vlasov plasma
KAUST DepartmentMechanical Engineering Program
Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Clean Combustion Research Center
Fluid and Plasma Simulation Group (FPS)
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AbstractCollisionless 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.
JournalEPL (Europhysics Letters)