Skip to Main Content
The dielectric tensor for a multi-component, homogeneous, field-free relativistic plasma is derived in manifestly covariant form. From the dielectric tensor, linear dispersion relations are obtained explicitly when each component of the plasma is isotropic in its rest frame. If the components are relativistic Maxwellians, these dispersion relations are expressible in terms of the relativistic plasma dispersion function. Special attention is given to the Weible and two-stream instabilities and to the normal modes of a quiescent, hot electron gas. For the last case the dispersion relations are solved numerically and compared against computer simulation data. An appendix applies the formalism to cold plasmas.