Cyclotron maser radiation from inhomogeneous plasmas

R Alan Cairns, I. Vorgul, Robert Bingham, K. Ronald, D. C. Speirs, S. L. McConville, K. M. Gillespie, R. Bryson, A. D. R. Phelps, B. J. Kellett, A. W. Cross, C. W. Roberston, C. G. Whyte, W. He

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Cyclotron maser instabilities are important in space, astrophysical, and laboratory plasmas. While extensive work has been done on these instabilities, most of it deals with homogeneous plasmas with uniform magnetic fields while in practice, of course, the systems are generally inhomogeneous. Here we expand on our previous work [R. A. Cairns, I. Vorgul, and R. Bingham, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 215003 (2008)] in which we showed that localized regions of instability can exist in an inhomogeneous plasma and that the way in which waves propagate away from this region is not necessarily obvious from the homogeneous plasma dispersion relation. While we consider only a simple ring distribution in velocity space, because of its tractability, the ideas may point toward understanding the behavior in the presence of more realistic distributions. The main object of the present work is to move away from consideration of the local dispersion relation and show how global growing eigenmodes can be constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022902
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2011
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Plasma waves
  • Magnetic fields
  • Cyclotron resonances
  • Dispersion relations
  • Eigenvalues
  • Plasma instabilites


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