On the viability of the single-wave model for the beam plasma instability

N. Carlevaro, G. Montani, D. Terzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We analyze the interaction of a cold fast electron beam with a thermalized plasma, in the presence of many Langmuir modes. The work aims at characterizing the deviation of the system behavior from the single-mode approximation, both with respect to a consistent spectral analysis of the most unstable mode harmonics and with respect to the presence of a dense spectrum, containing linearly unstable and stable modes. We demonstrate how, on the one hand, the total energy fraction absorbed by the harmonics is negligible at all (by evaluating its total amount) and, on the other hand, the additional Langmuir modes can be excited via an avalanche mechanism, responsible for a transport in the particle velocity space. In particular, we show that the spectral broadening outlines a universal shape and the distribution function, associated to the avalanche mechanism, has an asymptotic plateau, differently from the coherent structures characterizing the single-wave model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number45004
Pages (from-to)-
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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