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The debye region in astrophysical plasmas: a new access to the problem


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Abstract

We study the consequences of defining the Debye region in astrophysical plasmas as that region where purely stochastic Poissonian density fluctuations must be perturbed by the appearance of unscreened electric Coulomb forces. Here by we test a new definition of the charge screening length requiring that purely statistical density fluctuations in sub-volumes of the system can only be expected, if particle residence probabilities in those volumes are uncorrelated. We find that within Debye spheres where electric micro fields appear, this can evidently not anymore be guaranteed. We introduce a new definition of the chargescreening length based on this requirement. It turns out that the newly defined charge screening length increases compared to its classical Debye value proportional to the socalled Debye number, i.e. the number of particles in the Debye sphere, while the classical Debye length delivers one unique result independent on the Debye number. We discuss the astrophysical relevance of this new definit in which has the consequence that the effective screening length increases with the square of the temperature and decreases inversely proportional to the density, instead of with their square roots as in classic representations. Based on this revised Debye concept we furthermore study the general dispersion relation for electrostatic waves and show, that these waves when propagating into the direction of increasing electron temperatures will grow nonlinear and thus dissipate their excess energy to the electrons, with the consequence of heating them further up. This naturally explains the occurence of observed electron temperature increases at space plasma passages over MHD shocks. Furthermore we study the radiowave scattering in a plasma environment due to density-fluctuations which induce dielectricity fluctuations exciting secondary dipolar radio waves which latter serve as a valuable diagnostic tool for plasma investigations.

Keywords

debye region, astrophysical plasmas, Coulomb forces, radiowave scattering, dielectricity fluctuations

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