Electron cyclotron drift instability (ECDI) and ion–ion two stream instability (IITSI) are both kinetic instabilities that can be present in low-temperature, partially magnetized plasmas. The coupling of instabilities in a three-dimensional configuration leads to the existence of more than one unstable roots to the kinetic dispersion relation. In this paper, a generalized method has been developed for numerically evaluating solutions to the three-dimensional dispersion relation for coupled ECDI and IITSI, assuming cold singly and doubly charged ions and a Maxwellian velocity distribution function for the electrons. The present study demonstrates the coupling between ECDI and IITSI that affects the most unstable mode as a function of the wavenumbers in three dimensions and various plasma properties, including the applied electric field, magnetic field, electron temperature, ion velocities, and plasma density. One of the most notable results is that, while the most unstable mode with the largest growth rate is in the direction of the E×B drift in the two-dimensional cases, the most unstable mode for the three-dimensional configuration occurs in the oblique direction between the applied electric field and the E×B drift. This agrees with experimental observations in cross field plasma sources using coherent Thomson scattering.

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