Ray analysis of electron cyclotron waves propagating in dissipative thermal plasmas
The ray tracing in a weakly dissipative thermal plasma, in particular, near the electron cyclotron resonance, is investigated. Numerical results obtained by using a self-consistent new ray tracing approach where the local dispersion relation is considered as a complex quantity are presented. It is found that the combined thermal and dissipative effects may induce substantial ray refraction or ray reflection. The obtained power deposition profiles differ completely from those determined within the standard approach where the ray paths are described by the cold plasma dispersion relation. The presented results may have important implications on the EC plasma heating and current drive, in particular, in hot reactor-like plasmas.