The formation of a rotating instability associated with an ionization front (“rotating spoke”) and driven by a cross-field current in a cylindrical magnetized plasma is shown and explained for the first time on the basis of a fully kinetic simulation. The rotating spoke is a strong double layer (electrostatic sheath) moving towards the higher potential region at a velocity close to the critical ionization velocity, a concept proposed by Alfvén in the context of the formation of the solar system. The mechanisms of cross-field electron transport induced by this instability are analyzed.
Physical Review Letters
- Pub Date:
- October 2013
- Magnetized plasmas;
- Elementary processes in plasmas;
- Nonlinear phenomena: waves wave propagation and other interactions;
- Plasma turbulence