In a quasineutral plasma, electrons undergo collective oscillations, known as plasma oscillations, when perturbed locally. The oscillations propagate due to finite temperature effects. However, the wave can lose the phase coherence between constituting oscillators in an inhomogeneous plasma (phase mixing) because of the dependence of plasma oscillation frequency on plasma density. The longitudinal electric field associated with the wave may be used to accelerate electrons to high energies by exciting large amplitude wave. However when the maximum amplitude of the wave is reached that plasma can sustain, the wave breaks. The phenomena of wave breaking and phase mixing have applications in plasma heating and particle acceleration. For detailed experimental investigation of these phenomena a new device, inverse mirror plasma experimental device (IMPED), has been designed and fabricated. The detailed considerations taken before designing the device, so that different aspects of these phenomena can be studied in a controlled manner, are described. Specifications of different components of the IMPED machine and their flexibility aspects in upgrading, if necessary, are discussed. Initial results meeting the prerequisite condition of the plasma for such study, such as a quiescent, collisionless and uniform plasma, are presented. The machine produces δnnoise/n ⩽ 1%, Luniform ~ 120 cm at argon filling pressure of ~10−4 mbar and axial magnetic field of B = 1090 G.