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17

Xuxa Borealis

September 22, 2016

For a sufficiently large plasma density show that the Alfven vleocity VA = ncA is given to a good approximation by the following equation:

s

B2

VA =

(1)

0 m

P

where m = ms ns is the mass density.

First, need to find the Alfven modes; in cold plasmas this is done by taking the low frequency limit of the

dispersion relation, equ. (4.4.16):

D(n, ) = An4 Bn2 + RLP = 0

(2)

A = S sin2 + P cos2

(3)

From Problem 4.9:

R=L=S =1+

2

X ps

2

cs

D=0

and

P =

(4)

(5)

(6)

2

X ps

(7)

D(n, ) = (S sin2 + P cos2 )n4 (RL sin2 + P S(1 + cos2 ))n2 + RLP = 0

(8)

as 0 (low frequency limit) P becomes infinitely large but R, L, S, and D are bound. Using this approximation, when you divide out the P terms (S sin2 ) and (RL sin2 ) go to zero. Therefore the dispersion

relation simplifies to:

D(n, ) = (cos2 )n4 (S(1 + cos2 ))n2 + RL = 0

(9)

Third, we must put the dispersion relation in terms of the Alfvenic index of refraction, nA . From the text

(Gurnett and Bhattacharjee (4.4.28)):

n2A = 1 +

2

X ps

2

cs

=R=L=S

(10)

D(n, ) = (cos2 )n4 (n2A (1 + cos2 ))n2 + n4A = 0

(11)

To solve for the roots of this equation it is helpful to rearrange it, twice. The first root, n2 = n2A , is obvious

when the dispersion relation is written as:

D(n, ) = n4A n2 n2A + (cos2 )(n4 n2 n2A )+ = 0

(12)

The second root takes a bit more algebra. Starting from the equation 11, set n2 = q, and solve as you would

any quadratic equation; with the quadratic equation (equ. 14):

D(n, ) = (cos2 )q 2 (n2A + n2A cos2 )q + n4A = 0

(13)

x=

b2 4ac

2a

(14)

where a = cos2 , b = n2A + n2A cos2 , and c = n4A . Which I cant show, because I havent been able to make

it work (hashtag honesty). The second root, that we arent going to use anyway, is n2 = n2A / cos2 .

Now that we have n2 = n2A we can used equ. 10 for n2A and solve for the Alfven velocity, VA with a

sufficiently high plasma density, which can be equated to a sufficiently high plasma frequency, ps . The

sufficiently high plasma frequency lets us drop the 1 and equ. 10 becomes:

n2A =

2

X ps

(15)

2

cs

2

Now, you must recall what the plasma frequency and cyclotron frequency are: ps

=

ns e2s

0 ms

2

and cs

=

X ns e2 e2 B 2

s

/

0 ms m2s

n2A =

(16)

X ns e2 m2

s

s

0 ms e2 B 2

X ns m s

n2A =

0 B 2

X

1

n2A =

ns ms

0 B 2

P

P

At this point the

ns ms should look familiar [where m = ms ns is the mass density.]

n2A =

n2A =

m

0 B 2

Also something we need from the statement of the problem [the Alfven vleocity VA =

s

c

0 B 2

VA =

=c

nA

m

e2 B 2

m2s

(17)

(18)

(19)

(20)

c

nA ]

(21)

From Wikipedia: The speed c with which EM waves propagate through vacuum is related to the electric

constant 0 and the magnetic constant 0 by the equation:

c=

1

0 0

Using this equation we can get the equation for VA that the problem asked us to:

s

c

1

0 B 2

=

VA =

nA

0 0

m

s

c

0 B 2

VA =

=

nA

m 0 0

s

B2

VA =

m 0

Ta-Da!

(22)

(23)

(24)

(25)

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