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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 32, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 32, 975–989, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 32, 975–989, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 22 Aug 2014

Regular paper | 22 Aug 2014

Plasma wave mediated attractive potentials: a prerequisite for electron compound formation

R. A. Treumann1,2,* and W. Baumjohann3 R. A. Treumann and W. Baumjohann
  • 1Department of Geophysics and Environmental Sciences, Munich University, Munich, Germany
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
  • 3Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • *currently at: International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Coagulation of electrons to form macro-electrons or compounds in high temperature plasma is not generally expected to occur. Here we investigate, based on earlier work, the possibility for such electron compound formation (non-quantum "pairing") mediated in the presence of various kinds of plasma waves via the generation of attractive electrostatic potentials, the necessary condition for coagulation. We confirm the possibility of production of attractive potential forces in ion- and electron-acoustic waves, pointing out the importance of the former and expected consequences. While electron-acoustic waves presumably do not play any role, ion-acoustic waves may potentially contribute to formation of heavy electron compounds. Lower-hybrid waves also mediate compound formation but under different conditions. Buneman modes which evolve from strong currents may also potentially cause non-quantum "pairing" among cavity-/hole-trapped electrons constituting a heavy electron component that populates electron holes. The number densities are, however, expected to be very small and thus not viable for justification of macro-particles. All these processes are found to potentially generate cold compound populations. If such electron compounds are produced by the attractive forces, the forces provide a mechanism of cooling a small group of resonant electrons, loosely spoken, corresponding to classical condensation.

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