Propagation Of A Nonlinear Wave Packet Driven In A Relaxed Magnetohydrodynamic Plasma

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Journal Of Plasma Physics


We report the observation of a nonlinear wave packet propagating through a relaxed Taylor state in the Swarthmore Spheromak eXperiment (SSX) device. The wave packet is launched by a fast, pulsed, high current (≈21 kA) single-turn theta-pinch coil mounted outside the plasma vessel. The theta-pinch coil is energized by discharging a 40 kV, 2 kJ capacitor circuit. The wave packet velocity is super-thermal and super-Alfvénic; its group velocity is more consistent with a whistler pulse than other characteristic velocities. We also observe a fast density pulse which indicates that it is not Alfvénic in nature.