Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 January 2011
It is shown that a pre-existing electron density ripple in a dense plasma can excite electron neutrino oscillations. For our purposes, we use the dispersion relation for neutrino oscillations and derive the Mathieu equation for the propagation of neutrino oscillations in the presence of a spatially oscillating electron density ripple. The Mathieu equation predicts instability of neutrino oscillations. The criterion under which instability occurs is presented. Analytical expressions for the neutrino oscillation frequency and the growth rate are obtained. The possible relevance of our investigation to non-thermal neutrino oscillations in dense plasma environments (e.g. the supernovae, the core of white dwarf stars etc.) is briefly mentioned.