Lower hybrid oscillation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In plasma physics, a lower hybrid oscillation is a longitudinal oscillation of ions and electrons in a magnetized plasma. The direction of propagation must be very nearly perpendicular to the stationary magnetic field, within about √(me/mi) radians. Otherwise the electrons can move along the field lines fast enough to shield the oscillations in potential, in which case an electrostatic ion cyclotron wave results. The frequency of oscillation is


where Ωi is the ion cyclotron frequency, Ωe is the electron cyclotron frequency and ωpi is the ion plasma frequency. This is the lower hybrid frequency, so called because it is a "hybrid", or mixture, of two frequencies. There are also an upper hybrid frequency and upper hybrid oscillation.

The lower hybrid oscillation is unusual in that the ion and electron masses play an equally important role. This mode is relatively unimportant in practice because the necessary precise orientation relative to the magnetic field is seldom achieved. Exceptions are the use of lower hybrid waves to heat and drive current in fusion plasmas, and the lower hybrid drift instability, which was thought to be an important determinant of transport in the Field-Reversed Configuration (but was not found experimentally[1]).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carlson, Arthur W. (1987), "A search for lower-hybrid-drift fluctuations in a field-reversed configuration using CO2 heterodyne scattering", Physics of Fluids, 30 (5): 1497–1509, doi:10.1063/1.866263