Scientific Results

Weibel-Induced Filamentation during an Ultrafast Laser-Driven Plasma Expansion

Year: 2012

Authors: Quinn K., Romagnani L., Ramakrishna B., Sarri G., Dieckmann M. E., Wilson P.A., Fuchs J., Lancia L., Pipahl A., Toncian T., Willi O., Clarke R.J., Notley M., Macchi A., Borghesi M.

Autors Affiliation: Centre for Plasma Physics, School of Mathematics and Physics, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, United Kingdom;
LULI, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS, CEA, UPMC, 91128 Palaiseau, France;
Institut fur Laser- und Plasmaphysik, Heinrich-Heine-Universitat, D-40225 Dusseldorf, Germany;
Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Oxfordshire OX11 0QX, United Kingdom;
Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, CNR, Pisa, Italy;
Dipartimento di Fisica ‘‘E. Fermi,’’ Universita di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Abstract: The development of current instabilities behind the front of a cylindrically expanding plasma has been investigated experimentally via proton probing techniques. A multitude of tubelike filamentary structures is observed to form behind the front of a plasma created by irradiating solid-density wire targets with a high-intensity (I similar to 10(19) W/cm(2)), picosecond-duration laser pulse. These filaments exhibit a remarkable degree of stability, persisting for several tens of picoseconds, and appear to be magnetized over a filament length corresponding to several filament radii. Particle-in-cell simulations indicate that their formation can be attributed to a Weibel instability driven by a thermal anisotropy of the electron population. We suggest that these results may have implications in astrophysical scenarios, particularly concerning the problem of the generation of strong, spatially extended and sustained magnetic fields in astrophysical jets.

Journal/Review: PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS

Volume: 108 (13)      Pages from: 135001  to: 135001

More Information: This research was supported by EPSRC Grants No. EP/E048668/1, No. EP/E035728/1, and No. EP/C003586/1; DFG No. TR18 and No. GK1203; the British Council Alliance Program; QUB Internationalization Funds; DEL/AWE plc CAST; the STFC Direct Access Scheme; Vetenskapsradet (Dnr: 2010-4063); EPSRC/Andor Technology; Leverhulme Trust fellowship (ECF-2011-383); and MIUR, Italy through the FIRB project \”SULDIS\”. The support of the staff of the Central Laser Facility at RAL is gratefully acknowledged. L. R. acknowledges support from the ULIMAC grant from the Triangle de la Physique RTRA network.
KeyWords: laser-plasma interactions; laboratory astrophysics; plasma instabilities; generation; instability
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.135001

Citations: 30
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English