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Published May 2023 | public
Journal Article Embargoed

Two-stream instability with a growth rate insensitive to collisions in a dissipative plasma jet


The two-stream instability (Buneman instability) is traditionally derived as a collisionless instability with the presumption that collisions inhibit this instability. We show here via a combination of a collisional two-fluid model and associated experimental observations made in the Caltech plasma jet experiment, that in fact, a low-frequency mode of the two-stream instability is indifferent to collisions. Despite the collision frequency greatly exceeding the growth rate of the instability, the instability can still cause an exponential growth of electron velocity and a rapid depletion of particle density. Nevertheless, high collisionality has an important effect as it enables the development of a double layer when the cross section of the plasma jet is constricted by a kink-instigated Rayleigh–Taylor instability.

Additional Information

© 2023 Author(s). Published under an exclusive license by AIP Publishing. This study was supported by NSF Award No. 2105492 and by AFOSR Award No. FA9550–21-1–0379. Author Contributions. Yi Zhou: Formal analysis (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Software (equal); Validation (equal); Visualization (equal); Writing – original draft (equal); Writing – review & editing (equal). Paul M. Bellan: Conceptualization (equal); Formal analysis (equal); Funding acquisition (equal); Investigation (equal); Methodology (equal); Project administration (equal); Supervision (equal); Validation (equal); Writing – original draft (equal); Writing – review & editing (equal). DATA AVAILABILITY. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The authors have no conflicts to disclose.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023