Vlasov simulations of electron-ion collision effects on damping of electron plasma waves
Collisional effects can play an essential role in the dynamics of plasma waves by setting a minimum damping rate and by interfering with wave-particle resonances. Kinetic simulations of the effects of electron-ion pitch angle scattering on Electron Plasma Waves (EPWs) are presented here. In particular, the effects of such collisions on the frequency and damping of small-amplitude EPWs for a range of collision rates and wave phase velocities are computed and compared with theory. Both the Vlasov simulations and linear kinetic theory find the direct contribution of electron-ion collisions to wave damping significantly reduced from that obtained through linearized fluid theory. To our knowledge, this simple result has not been published before. Simulations have been carried out using a grid-based (Vlasov) approach, based on a high-order conservative finite difference method for discretizing the Fokker-Planck equation describing the evolution of the electron distribution function. Details of the implementation of the collision operator within this framework are presented. Such a grid-based approach, which is not subject to numerical noise, is of particular interest for the accurate measurements of the wave damping rates. (C) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.