Dynamical characteristics of solitary waves, shocks and envelope modes in kappa-distributed non-thermal plasmas: an overview

I. Kourakis, S. Sultana, M. A. Hellberg

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Space plasmas provide abundant evidence of highly energetic particle population, resulting in a long-tailed non-Maxwellian distribution. Furthermore, the first stages in the evolution of plasmas produced during laser-matter interaction are dominated by nonthermal electrons, as confirmed by experimental observation and computer simulations. This phenomenon is efficiently modelled via a kappa-type distribution. We present an overview, from first principles, of the effect of superthermality on the characteristics of electrostatic plasma waves. We rely on a fluid model for ion-acoustic excitations, employing a kappa distribution function to model excess superthermality of the electron distribution. Focusing on nonlinear excitations (solitons), in the form of solitary waves (pulses), shocks and envelope solitons, and employing standard methodological tools of nonlinear plasmadynamical analysis, we discuss the role of excess superthermality in their propagation dynamics (existence laws, stability profile), geometric characteristics and stability. Numerical simulations are employed to confirm theoretical predictions, namely in terms of the stability of electrostatic pulses, as well as the modulational stability profile of bright- and dark-type envelope solitons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124001
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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