Contemporary lasers allow us to create shocks in the laboratory that propagate at a speed that matches that of energetic astrophysical shocks like those that ensheath supernova blast shells. The rapid growth time of the shocks and the spatio-temporal resolution, with which they can be sampled, allow us to identify the processes that are involved in their formation and evolution. Some laser-generated unmagnetized shocks are mediated by collective electrostatic forces and effects caused by binary collisions between particles can be neglected. Hydrodynamic models, which are valid for many large-scale astrophysical shocks, assume that collisions enforce a local thermodynamic equilibrium in the medium; laser-generated shocks are thus not always representative for astrophysical shocks. Laboratory studies of shocks can improve the understanding of their astrophysical counterparts if we can identify processes that affect electrostatic shocks and hydrodynamic shocks alike. An example is the nonlinear thin-shell instability (NTSI). We show that the NTSI destabilises collisionless and collisional shocks by the same physical mechanism.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion|
|Early online date||27 Oct 2017|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2018|
|Event||EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 2017 - Belfast, United Kingdom|
Duration: 26 Jun 2017 → 30 Jun 2017