Articles | Volume 6, issue 3/4
Special issue:
31 Dec 1999
31 Dec 1999

Interaction dynamics of electrostatic solitary waves

V. L. Krasovsky, H. Matsumoto, and Y. Omura

Abstract. Interaction of nonlinear electrostatic pulses associated with electron phase density holes moving in a collisionless plasma is studied. An elementary event of the interaction is analyzed on the basis of the energy balance in the system consisting of two electrostatic solitary waves. It is established that an intrinsic property of the system is a specific irreversibility caused by a nonadiabatic modification of the internal structure of the holes and their effective heating in the process of the interaction. This dynamical irreversibility is closely connected with phase mixing of the trapped electrons comprising the holes and oscillating in the varying self-consistent potential wells. As a consequence of the irreversibility, the "collisions" of the solitary waves should be treated as "inelastic" ones. This explains the general tendency to the merging of the phase density holes frequently observed in numerical simulation and to corresponding coupling of the solitary waves.