Longitudinal wave-breaking limits in a unified geometric model of relativistic warm plasmas

David Burton, Adam Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The covariant Vlasov–Maxwell system is used to study the breaking of relativistic warm plasma waves. The well-known theory of relativistic warm plasmas due to Katsouleas and Mori (KM) is subsumed within a unified geometric formulation of the 'waterbag' paradigm over spacetime. We calculate the maximum amplitude Emax of nonlinear longitudinal electric waves for a particular class of waterbags whose geometry is a simple three-dimensional generalization (in velocity) of the one-dimensional KM waterbag (in velocity). It has been shown previously that the value of limv → cEmax (with the effective temperature of the plasma electrons held fixed) diverges for the KM model; however, we show that a certain class of simple three-dimensional waterbags exhibit a finite value for limv → cEmax, where v is the phase velocity of the wave and c is the speed of light.
Original languageEnglish
Article number075502
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2010


  • plasma physics
  • waves
  • wave propagation


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