Return-current formation in the electron beam – plasma system
- Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
Abstract. Using a 3-D electromagnetic particle-in-cell model an evolution of the electron distribution function in the beam-plasma system with the return current is computed. It was found that the resulting electron distribution function depends on the magnetic field assumed along the beam-propagation direction. While for small magnetic fields the electron distribution function becomes broad in the direction perpendicular to the beam propagation due to the Weibel (filamentation) instability and the return current is formed by a shifted bulk distribution, for stronger magnetic fields the distribution, especially on the return current side, is extended in the beam-propagation direction. To understand better the instabilities influencing the mentioned processes, the dispersion diagrams are computed and discussed.