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Propagation in multicomponent plasmas


  • R. L. Smith,

  • Neil Brice


A simple concise formulation of the problem of propagation in multicomponent plasmas with static magnetic fields is given. Application to plasmas, such as the ionosphere, containing electrons and multiple positive ions is considered. For each ionic species beyond the first, a multiple-ion resonance and a multiple-ion cutoff frequency are found for propagation perpendicular to the static magnetic field as well as a cutoff and the expected ion gyrofrequency resonance for the left circularly polarized (Alfvén) mode. Also, for each additional ion a crossover frequency is found for which the two longitudinally propagating modes and the transverse extraordinary mode have the same phase velocity. If a crossover frequency moves through the frequency of a wave propagating in a slowly varying medium, the polarization of the wave is changed from predominately right circular to left circular or vice versa.

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