A competitive coexistence between a drift mode and a flute mode has been investigated experimentally in a bounded cylindrical electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma. This competitive cycle was repeated during a whole continuous discharge. Competitive phenomena appeared in plasmas when the density scale length was close to the critical value: the drift mode is dominant and the flute mode is suppressed just below a critical value, but above this value, the flute mode grows abruptly and the drift mode is suppressed. In this phase, the density gradient increases temporally. A small crash takes place when the density scale length reaches a limit value, and then the density profile goes back to the previous states and thus the drift mode is excited and the flute mode is suppressed. The direct nonlinear coupling between the drift mode and the flute mode is weaker than the process of the second harmonic generation of each mode, suggesting that the growth and decay of them are closely related to the modification of the radial density profile.
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