A Schamel equation for ion acoustic waves in superthermal plasmas

G. Williams, F. Verheest, M. A. Hellberg, M. G M Anowar, I. Kourakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


An investigation of the propagation of ion acoustic waves in nonthermal plasmas in the presence of trapped electrons has been undertaken. This has been motivated by space and laboratory plasma observations of plasmas containing energetic particles, resulting in long-tailed distributions, in combination with trapped particles, whereby some of the plasma particles are confined to a finite region of phase space. An unmagnetized collisionless electron-ion plasma is considered, featuring a non-Maxwellian-trapped electron distribution, which is modelled by a kappa distribution function combined with a Schamel distribution. The effect of particle trapping has been considered, resulting in an expression for the electron density. Reductive perturbation theory has been used to construct a KdV-like Schamel equation, and examine its behaviour. The relevant configurational parameters in our study include the superthermality index κ and the characteristic trapping parameter β. A pulse-shaped family of solutions is proposed, also depending on the weak soliton speed increment u0. The main modification due to an increase in particle trapping is an increase in the amplitude of solitary waves, yet leaving their spatial width practically unaffected. With enhanced superthermality, there is a decrease in both amplitude and width of solitary waves, for any given values of the trapping parameter and of the incremental soliton speed. Only positive polarity excitations were observed in our parametric investigation. 

Original languageEnglish
Article number092103
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'A Schamel equation for ion acoustic waves in superthermal plasmas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this