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Experimental Observation of Thin-shell Instability in a Collisionless Plasma
Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK.
Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (Scientific Visualization)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4055-0552
Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK.
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2017 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, E-ISSN 2041-8213, Vol. 834, no 2, article id L21Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We report on the experimental observation of the instability of a plasma shell, which formed during the expansion of a laser-ablated plasma into a rarefied ambient medium. By means of a proton radiography technique, the evolution of the instability is temporally and spatially resolved on a timescale much shorter than the hydrodynamic one. The density of the thin shell exceeds that of the surrounding plasma, which lets electrons diffuse outward. An ambipolar electric field grows on both sides of the thin shell that is antiparallel to the density gradient. Ripples in the thin shell result in a spatially varying balance between the thermal pressure force mediated by this field and the ram pressure force that is exerted on it by the inflowing plasma. This mismatch amplifies the ripples by the same mechanism that drives the hydrodynamic nonlinear thin-shell instability (NTSI). Our results thus constitute the first experimental verification that the NTSI can develop in colliding flows.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP), 2017. Vol. 834, no 2, article id L21
Keyword [en]
laser plasma, PIC simulation, macroinstability
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134030DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/834/2/L21ISI: 000397140500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134030DiVA, id: diva2:1066652
Note

Funding agencies: EPSRC [EP/I031766/1, EP/K022415/1, EP/I029206/1, SFB-TR18, GRK1203, ENE2013-45661-C2-1-P, PEII-2014-008-P]; Vetenskapsradet [Dnr 2010-4063]; Triangle de la Physique RTRA network (ULIMAC)

Available from: 2017-01-18 Created: 2017-01-18 Last updated: 2017-11-29

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