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What is Ion Bernstein Wave Heating?

  1. Jul 6, 2011 #1
    Hi Everyone! I am working in a plasma propulsion lab this summer, and am trying to get a better understanding of IBW heating. Very few papers on the academic databases actually describe what an IBW is, and how it heats, so I was hoping to open up a discussion about the topic.

    Here's what I know so far: An IBW is a type of wave generated in a plasma by injecting a high frequency EM wave. The injected wave becomes the IBW as the ions and electrons in the plasma influence its propagation. The ions in the plasma hit some sort of resonance (not necessarily equal to the ion cyclotron frequency) and are heated. This process relies on something called the finite Larmor radius effect.

    Here are some of my questions:
    - Is my explanation on the right track? What do I need to know to improve my understanding of this phenomenon?
    - How does this compare to ion cyclotron heating?
    - How do you calculate this Larmor radius (or am I misunderstanding it?)
    - It seems like you need to hit a specific frequency/wavelength ratio to get net heating, but how is that ratio maintained with the increasing gyration radius?

    I'm excited to hear from the more knowledgeable members of the forum. Thanks for taking the time to participate in this discussion!
  2. jcsd
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