Electron pairing in mirror modes: surpassing the quasi-linear limit

Treumann, Rudolf A.; Baumjohann, Wolfgang

The mirror mode evolving in collisionless magnetised high-temperature thermally anisotropic plasmas is shown to develop an interesting macro-state. Starting as a classical zero-frequency ion fluid instability it saturates quasi-linearly at very low magnetic level, while forming elongated magnetic bubbles which trap the electron component to perform an adiabatic bounce motion along the magnetic field. Further evolution of the mirror mode towards a stationary state is determined by the bouncing trapped electrons which interact with the thermal level of ion sound waves and generate attractive wake potentials which give rise to the formation of electron pairs in the lowest-energy singlet state of two combined electrons. Pairing preferentially takes place near the bounce-mirror points where the pairs become spatially locked with all their energy in the gyration. The resulting large anisotropy of pairs enters the mirror growth rate in the quasi-linearly stable mirror mode. It breaks the quasi-linear stability and causes further growth. Pressure balance is either restored by dissipation of the pairs and their anisotropy or inflow of plasma from the environment. In the first case new pairs will continuously form until equilibrium is reached. In the final state the fraction of pairs can be estimated. This process is open to experimental verification. To our knowledge it is the only process in which high-temperature plasma pairing may occur and has an important observable macroscopic effect: breaking the quasi-linear limit and, via pressure balance, generation of localised diamagnetism.



Treumann, Rudolf A. / Baumjohann, Wolfgang: Electron pairing in mirror modes: surpassing the quasi-linear limit. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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