The effects of collective modes on the temperature relaxation in fully ionized, weakly coupled plasmas are investigated. A coupled mode (CM) formula for the electron-ion energy transfer is derived within the random phase approximation and it is shown how it can be evaluated using standard methods. The CM rates are considerably smaller than rates based on Fermi's golden rule for some parameters and identical for others. It is shown how the CM effects are connected to the occurrence of ion acoustic modes and when they occur. Interestingly, CM effects occur also for plasmas with very high electron temperatures; a regime, where the Landau–Spitzer approach is believed to be accurate
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