Longitudinal and Transverse Instability of Ion Acoustic Waves
AbstractIon acoustic waves are found to be susceptible to at least two distinct decay processes. Which process dominates depends on the parameters. In the cases examined, the decay channel where daughter modes propagate parallel to the mother mode is found to dominate at larger amplitudes, while the decay channel where the daughter modes propagate at angles to the mother mode dominates at smaller amplitudes. Both decay processes may occur simultaneously and with onset thresholds below those suggested by fluid theory, resulting in the eventual multidimensional collapse of the mother mode to a turbulent state.