The formation of unmagnetized electrostatic shock-like structures with a high Mach number is examined with one- and two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. The structures are generated through the collision of two identical plasma clouds, which consist of equally hot electrons and ions with a mass ratio of 250. The Mach number of the collision speed with respect to the initial ion acoustic speed of the plasma is set to 4.6. This high Mach number delays the formation of such structures by tens of inverse ion plasma frequencies. A pair of stable shock-like structures is observed after this time in the 1D simulation, which gradually evolve into electrostatic shocks. The ion acoustic instability, which can develop in the 2D simulation but not in the 1D one, competes with the nonlinear process that gives rise to these structures. The oblique ion acoustic waves fragment their electric field. The transition layer, across which the bulk of the ions change their speed, widens and their speed change is reduced. Double layer-shock hybrid structures develop.
Bibliographical note13 pages, 14 figures, accepted for publication in Physics of Plasmas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics