Nonlinear aspects of quantum plasma physics

Shukla, Padma and Eliasson, Bengt (2010) Nonlinear aspects of quantum plasma physics. Physics-Uspekhi, 53 (1). pp. 51-76. ISSN 1063-7869

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Dense quantum plasmas are ubiquitous in planetary interiors and in compact astrophysical objects (e.g., the interior of white dwarf stars, in magnetars, etc.), in semiconductors and micromechanical systems, as well as in the next-generation intense laser–solid density plasma interaction experiments and in quantum X-ray free-electron lasers. In contrast to classical plasmas, quantum plasmas have extremely high plasma number densities and low temperatures. Quantum plasmas are composed of electrons, positrons and holes, which are degenerate. Positrons (holes) have the same (slightly different) mass as electrons, but opposite charge. The degenerate charged particles (electrons, positrons, and holes) obey the Fermi–Dirac statistics. In quantum plasmas, there are new forces associated with (i) quantum statistical electron and positron pressures, (ii) electron and positron tunneling through the Bohm potential, and (iii) electron and positron angular momentum spin. Inclusion of these quantum forces allows the existence of very high-frequency dispersive electrostatic and electromagnetic waves (e.g., in the hard X-ray and gamma-ray regimes) with extremely short wavelengths. In this review paper, we present theoretical backgrounds for some important nonlinear aspects of wave–wave and wave–electron interactions in dense quantum plasmas. Specifically, we focus on nonlinear electrostatic electron and ion plasma waves, novel aspects of three-dimensional quantum electron fluid turbulence, as well as nonlinearly coupled intense electromagnetic waves and localized plasma wave structures. Also discussed are the phase-space kinetic structures and mechanisms that can generate quasistationary magnetic fields in dense quantum plasmas. The influence of the external magnetic field and the electron angular momentum spin on the electromagnetic wave dynamics is discussed. Finally, future perspectives of the nonlinear quantum plasma physics are highlighted.


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