All the information about the propagation of a given plasma wave mode is contained in the appropriate dispersion relation, which

- Phase velocity
- v(ph)=w/k

- Group velocity
- v(g)=dw/dk

- Propagation region
- frequency range where the wave is able to propagate (i.e., is not evanescent)

- Reflection points
- frequency at which the propagation region is limited by infinite phase velocity (zero group velocity)

- Resonance points
- frequency at which energy can be transferred to plasma particles (zero phase velocity, and infinite group velocity)

- Wave growth or damping

When using the more complicated plasma theories,
the resulting dispersion relations can be diffucult to interpretate. Because of
this, different kind of **graphical presentations** can been used.
The most obvious one is to plot w=w(k) in a (k,w) plane:

*Dispersion relation w(k) for the transverse wave propagating in an isotropic
cold electron plasma. Note the geometrical representation of the phase
and group velocities at the point P.*

Other possibility is to plot the phase (and possibly group) velocities as a function of w:

*Same dispersion relation as above, but now as v=v(w) for both phase and
group velocities. Note the reflection point at w(pe).*

Wave propagation can also be described using diagrams called **phase
velocity or wave normal surfaces**, which give the variations of the
magnitude of the phase velocity of plane waves with respect to the
magnetic field direction:

Finally, the **CMA (Clemmow-Mullaly-Allis) diagram** is a very compact
alternative way for presenting solutions of the dispersion relation.
This diagram is constructed in a two-dimensional parameter space having
X=(w(pe)/w)^2 as the horizontal axis, and Y^2=(w(ce)/w)^2 as the
vertical axis, and displaying all the resonances and reflection points
as a function of both X and Y^2. Thus, in this diagram, the magnetic
field increases in the vertical direction, the plasma electron density
increases in the horizontal direction, and the electromagnetic wave
frequency decreases in the radial direction (in each case, considering
all other parameters fixed). Furthermore, the CMA diagram divides the
(X,Y^2) plane into a number of regions such that within each region
the characteristic topological forms of the phase velocity surfaces remain
unchanged.

See also: