Bifurcation from a streamer to a solitary drift wave is obtained in three dimensional simulation of resistive drift waves in cylindrical plasmas. The solitary drift wave is observed in the regime where the collisional transport is important as well as fluctuation induced transport. The solitary drift wave forms a steep wave front in the azimuthal direction. The phase of higher harmonic modes are locked to that of the fundamental mode, so that the steep wave front is sustained for a long time compared to the typical time scale of the drift wave oscillation. The phase entrainment between the fundamental and second harmonic modes is studied, and the azimuthal structure of the stationary solution is found to be characterized by a parameter which is determined by the deviation of the fluctuations from the Boltzmann relation. There are two solutions of the azimuthal structures, which have steep wave front facing forward and backward in the wave propagation direction, respectively. The selection criterion of these solutions is derived theoretically from the stability of the phase entrainment. The simulation result and experimental observations are found to be consistent with the theoretical prediction.
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