Electrostatic shock dynamics in superthermal plasmas

S. Sultana, G. Sarri, I. Kourakis

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The propagation of ion acoustic shocks in nonthermal plasmas is investigated, both analytically and numerically. An unmagnetized collisionless electron-ion plasma is considered, featuring a superthermal (non-Maxwellian) electron distribution, which is modeled by a -(kappa) distribution function. Adopting a multiscale approach, it is shown that the dynamics of low-amplitude shocks is modeled by a hybrid Korteweg-de Vries-Burgers (KdVB) equation, in which the nonlinear and dispersion coefficients are functions of the parameter, while the dissipative coefficient is a linear function of the ion viscosity. All relevant shock parameters are shown to depend on : higher deviations from a pure Maxwellian behavior induce shocks which are narrower, faster, and of larger amplitude. The stability profile of the kink-shaped solutions of the KdVB equation against external perturbations is investigated. The spatial profile of the shocks is found to depend upon the dispersion and the dissipation term, and the role of the interplay between dispersion and dissipation is elucidated.

Original languageBritish English
Article number012310
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


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