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Magnetothermal instabilities in magnetized anisotropic plasmas

By M. S. Nakwacki and J. Peralta-Ramos


Using the transport equations for an ideal anisotropic collisionless plasma derived from the Vlasov equation by the 16-moment method, we analyse the influence of pressure anisotropy exhibited by collisionless magnetized plasmas on the magnetothermal (MTI) and heat-flux-driven buoyancy (HBI) instabilities. We calculate the dispersion relation and the growth rates for these instabilities in the presence of a background heat flux and for configurations with static pressure anisotropy, finding that when the frequency at which heat conduction acts is much larger than any other frequency in the system (i.e. weak magnetic field) the pressure anisotropy has no effect on the MTI/HBI, provided the degree of anisotropy is small. In contrast, when this ordering of timescales does not apply the instability criteria depend on pressure anisotropy. Specifically, the growth time of the instabilities in the anisotropic case can be almost one order of magnitude smaller than its isotropic counterpart. We conclude that in plasmas where pressure anisotropy is present the MTI/HBI are modified. However, in environments with low magnetic fields and small anisotropy such as the ICM the results obtained from the 16-moment equations under the approximations considered are similar to those obtained from ideal MHD.Comment: v3: 16 pages, 2 figures, fixed typos, added references and a final note on related wor

Topics: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics, Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Physics - Plasma Physics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/1742-6596/370/1/012038
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