Phase-space holes due to electron and ion beams accelerated by a current-driven potential ramp
Abstract. One-dimensional open-boundary simulations have been carried out in a current-carrying plasma seeded with a neutral density depression and with no initial electric field. These simulations show the development of a variety of nonlinear localized electric field structures: double layers (unipolar localized fields), fast electron phase-space holes (bipolar fields) moving in the direction of electrons accelerated by the double layer and trains of slow alternating electron and ion phase-space holes (wave-like fields) moving in the direction of ions accelerated by the double layer. The principal new result in this paper is to show by means of a linear stability analysis that the slow-moving trains of electron and ion holes are likely to be the result of saturation via trapping of a kinetic-Buneman instability driven by the interaction of accelerated ions with unaccelerated electrons.