Recently, a filamentation instability was observed when a laser-generated pair cloud interacted with an ambient plasma. The magnetic field it drove was strong enough to magnetize and accelerate the ambient electrons. It is of interest to determine if and how pair cloud-driven instabilities can accelerate ions in the laboratory or in astrophysical plasma. For this purpose, the expansion of a localized pair cloud with the temperature 400 keV into a cooler ambient electron-proton plasma is studied by means of one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The cloud's expansion triggers the formation of electron phase space holes that accelerate some protons to MeV energies. Forthcoming lasers might provide the energy needed to create a cloud that can accelerate protons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics