A two-dimensional numerical study of the expansion of a dense plasma through a more rarefied one is reported. The electrostatic ion-acoustic shock, which is generated during the expansion, accelerates the electrons of the rarefied plasma inducing a superthermal population which reduces electron thermal anisotropy. The Weibel instability is therefore not triggered and no self-generated magnetic fields are observed, in contrast with published theoretical results dealing with plasma expansion into vacuum. The shock front develops a filamentary structure which is interpreted as the consequence of the electrostatic ion-ion instability, consistently with published analytical models and experimental results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)