EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 421, Number 1, July I 2004
Page(s) 17 - 21
Section Astrophysical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041077

A&A 421, 17-21 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041077

Nonlinear electromagnetic modes in astrophysical plasmas with dust distributions

F. Verheest1, 2 and T. Cattaert1

1  Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Gent, Belgium
2  School of Physics (Howard College Campus), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4041, South Africa

(Received 22 January 2004 / Accepted 18 March 2004 )

A derivative nonlinear Schrödinger equation is obtained for parallel electromagnetic modes in plasmas containing polydisperse charged dust. The coefficient of the dispersive term in that equation is dominated by the dust rather than the (plasma) ions, and polydisperse dust yields a larger coefficient in absolute value than an equivalent monodisperse description. This leads to a significant broadening of the nonlinear structure due to the presence of polydisperse rather than monodisperse dust, the latter contributing in itself already to a substantial increase in the width of envelope solitons compared to dust-free plasmas. When modelling the charged dust by a power-law distribution occurring in planetary ring and other astrophysical systems, it depends very much on the power-law index whether the smaller or the larger grains are more important. For certain indices the more numerous smaller grains determine the charge and mass densities, but the larger dust dominates the linear and nonlinear dispersive effects.

Key words: plasmas -- waves -- planets: rings -- ISM: clouds

Offprint request: F. Verheest Frank.Verheest@UGent.be

© ESO 2004