Building a Dispersion Relation Solver for Hot Plasmas with Arbitrary Non-relativistic Parallel Velocity Distributions
Friday, 19 December 2014
Collisionless space plasmas often deviate from Maxwellian-like velocity distributions. To study kinetic waves and instabilities in such plasmas, the dispersion relation, which depends on the velocity distribution, needs to be solved numerically. Most current dispersion solvers (e.g. WHAMP) take advantage of mathematical properties of the Gaussian (or generalized Lorentzian) function, and assume that the velocity distributions can be modeled by a combination of several drift-Maxwellian (or drift-Lorentzian) components. In this study we are developing a kinetic dispersion solver that admits nearly arbitrary non-relativistic parallel velocity distributions. A key part of any dispersion solver is the evaluation of a Hilbert transform of the velocity distribution function and its derivative along Landau contours. Our new solver builds upon a recent method to compute the Hilbert transform accurately and efficiently using the fast Fourier transform, while simultaneously treating the singularities arising from resonances analytically. We have benchmarked our new solver against other codes dealing with Maxwellian distributions. As an example usage of our code, we will show results for several instabilities that occur for electron velocity distributions observed in the solar wind.