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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 23;100(20):205008. Epub 2008 May 23.

Exact relativistic kinetic theory of an electron-beam-plasma system: hierarchy of the competing modes in the system-parameter space.

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ETSI Industriales, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.


The stability analysis of an electron-beam-plasma system is of critical relevance in many areas of physics. Surprisingly, decades of extensive investigation have not yet resulted in a realistic unified picture of the multidimensional unstable spectrum within a fully relativistic and kinetic framework. All attempts made so far in this direction were indeed restricted to simplistic distribution functions and/or did not aim at a complete mapping of the beam-plasma parameter space. The present Letter comprehensively tackles this problem by implementing an exact linear model. Three kinds of modes compete in the linear phase, which can be classified according to the direction of their wave number with respect to the beam. We determine their respective domain of preponderance in a three-dimensional parameter space and support our results with multidimensional particle-in-cell simulations.

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