AIP Digital Archive
In the linear theory of waves in a hot plasma if the zeroth-order velocity distribution function is taken to be Maxwellian, then there arises a special, complex-valued function of a complex variable ξ=x+iy, namely Z(ξ), known as the plasma dispersion function. In space physics many particle distributions possess a high-energy tail that can be well modeled by a generalized Lorentzian (or kappa) distribution function containing the spectral index κ. In this paper, as a natural analog to the definition of Z(ξ), a new special function Z@B|κ(ξ) is defined based on the kappa distribution function. Here, Z*κ(ξ) is called the modified plasma dispersion function. For any positive integral value of κ, Z@B|κ(ξ) is calculated in closed form as a finite series. General properties, including small-argument and large-argument expansions, of Z*κ(ξ) are given, and simple explicit forms are given for Z@B|1(ξ), Z*2(ξ), ..., Z@B|6(ξ). A comprehensive set of graphs of the real and imaginary parts of Z*κ(ξ) is presented. It is demonstrated how the modified plasma dispersion function approaches the plasma dispersion function in the limit as κ→∞, a result to be expected since the (appropriately defined) kappa distribution function formally approaches the Maxwellian as κ→∞. The function Z@B|κ(ξ) is expected to be instrumental in studying microinstabilities in plasmas when the particle distribution function is not only the standard generalized Lorentzian, but also of the Lorentzian type,including inter alia, the loss-cone, bi-Lorentzian, and product bi-Lorentzian distributions.
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