The saturation of the magnetorotational instability (MRI) in thin Keplerian disks through three-wave resonant interactions is introduced and discussed. That mechanism is a natural generalization of the fundamental decay instability discovered five decades ago for infinite, homogeneous, and immovable plasmas. The decay instability relies on the energy transfer from the MRI to stable slow Alfvén-Coriolis as well as magnetosonic waves. A second-order forced Duffing amplitude equation for the initially unstable MRI as well as two first-order equations for the other two waves are derived. The solutions of those equations exhibit bounded bursty nonlinear oscillations for the MRI as well as unbounded growth for the linearly stable slow Alfvén-Coriolis and magnetosonic perturbations, thus giving rise to the magnetorotational decay instability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (all)