Frequency downshifting and trapping of an electromagnetic wave by a rapidly created spatially periodic plasma

James Faith, S. P. Kuo, Joe Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experimental and numerical results of the interaction of electromagnetic waves with rapidly time varying spatially periodic plasmas are presented. It is shown that a number of Floquet modes, each with their own oscillation frequency, are created during the interaction. Included among these modes are downshifted waves which will not exist in the single slab case, and also waves with a larger upshifted frequency than one can obtain with a single plasma layer of the same density. In addition, the periodic structure is characterized by pass and stop bands that are different from those of a single plasma layer, and the frequencies of the downshifted modes falling in the stop band of a single plasma layer. Therefore these waves are trapped within the plasma structure until the plasma decays away. To show this phenomenon a chamber experiment is conducted, with the periodic plasma being produced by a capacitive discharge. The power spectrum recorded for waves interacting with the plasma shows vastly improved efficiency in the downshift mechanism, which the numerical calculations suggest is related to the trapping of the wave within the plasma. Reproducible results are recorded which are found to agree well with the numerical simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1843-1851
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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