Electrostatic solitary waves in the presence of excess superthermal electrons: modulational instability and envelope soliton modes

Sharmin Sultana, Ioannis Kourakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The nonlinear dynamics of electrostatic solitary waves in the form of localized modulated wavepackets is investigated from first principles. Electron-acoustic (EA) excitations are considered in a two-electron plasma, via a fluid formulation. The plasma, assumed to be collisionless and uniform (unmagnetized), is composed of two types of electrons (inertial cold electrons and inertialess kappa-distributed superthermal electrons) and stationary ions. By making use of a multiscale perturbation technique, a nonlinear Schrodinger equation is derived for the modulated envelope, relying on which the occurrence of modulational instability (MI) is investigated in detail. Stationary profile localized EA excitations may exist, in the form of bright solitons (envelope pulses) or dark envelopes (voids). The presence of superthermal electrons modifies the conditions for MI to occur, as well as the associated threshold and growth rate. The concentration of superthermal electrons (i.e., the deviation from a Maxwellian electron distribution) may control or even suppress MI. Furthermore, superthermality affects the characteristics of solitary envelope structures, both qualitatively (supporting one or the other type, for different.) and quantitatively, changing their characteristics (width, amplitude). The stability of bright and dark-type nonlinear structures is confirmed by numerical simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045003
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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