The heating of ions by high frequency electrostatic waves in magnetically confined plasmas has been a paradigm for studying nonlinear wave-particle interactions. The frequency of the waves is assumed to be much higher than the ion cyclotron frequency and the waves are taken to propagate across the magnetic field. In fusion type plasmas, electrostatic waves, like the lower hybrid wave, cannot access the core of the plasma. That is a domain for high harmonic fast waves or electron cyclotron waves—these are primarily electromagnetic waves. Previous studies on heating of ions by two or more electrostatic waves are extended to two electromagnetic waves that propagate directly across the confining magnetic field. While the ratio of the frequency of each wave to the ion cyclotron frequency is large, the frequency difference is assumed to be near the ion cyclotron frequency. The nonlinear wave-particle interaction is studied analytically using a two time-scale canonical perturbation theory. The theory elucidates the effects of various parameters on the gain in energy by the ions—parameters such as the amplitudes and polarizations of the waves, the ratio of the wave frequencies to the cyclotron frequency, the difference in the frequency of the two waves, and the wave numbers associated with the waves. For example, the ratio of the phase velocity of the envelope formed by the two waves to the phase velocity of the carrier wave is important for energization of ions. For a positive ratio, the energy range is much larger than for a negative ratio. So waves like the lower hybrid waves will impart very little energy to ions. The theoretical results are found to be in good agreement with numerical simulations of the exact dynamical equations. The analytical results are used to construct mapping equations, simplifying the derivation of the motion of ions, which are, subsequently, used to follow the evolution of an ion distribution function. The heating of ions can then be properly quantified in terms of the wave parameters and can be conveniently used to find ideal conditions needed to heat ions by high frequency electromagnetic waves.

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