Wave Growth as a Critical Phenomenon
The onset of a linear or nonlinear plasma instability has similarities
to a phase change in a thermodynamic system: complicated dynamics gives way to
dynamics dominated by order (e.g., by a single growing wave
mode in the plasma case).
We apply techniques from the theory of critical phenomena to plasma instabilities,
calculating quantities such as divergent correlation lengths and times near
instability onset, critical exponents, and membership of universality classes.
These provide new windows on instability physics, relating it to
other branches of physics in ways not widely understood in the plasma community.
Current Research Areas
- Landau Damping
- Beam instability
Drysdale, PM, and Robinson, PA (2002). Mean-field theory of the coherent to
random-phase transition in three-wave interactions, Physics of Plasmas, 9, 4896.
Ivanov, A, Cairns, IH, and Robinson, PA (2004). Plasma wave damping as a critical
phenomenon, Physics of Plasmas, 11, 4649.
Ivanov, A, Vladimirov, SV, and Robinson, PA (2005). Criticality in a Vlasov-Poisson
System - a Fermionic-like Universality Class, Physical Review E, submitted.